Join our crew and become one of the 105,979 members that receive our newsletter.

Navy Sailor Found Not Guilty of Starting USS Bonhomme Richard Fire

Sailors and Federal Firefighters combat a fire onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego, July 12, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christina Ross/Released)

Navy Sailor Found Not Guilty of Starting USS Bonhomme Richard Fire

Reuters
Total Views: 4965
September 30, 2022
Reuters

Sept 30 (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy sailor was found not guilty on Friday of starting a fire that destroyed the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard in San Diego in 2020.

Seaman Recruit Ryan Mays was acquitted of charges of arson and the willful hazarding of a ship, Commander Sean Robertson, a spokesman for the U.S. 3rd Fleet, said in a statement.

The decision followed a two-week court-martial in which Navy prosecutors argued that Mays, who was 19 at the time of the blaze, started the fire due to disgruntlement with his work. Defense lawyers said lithium-ion batteries or a spark from a short on a forklift could have been to blame. 

Bonhomme Richard Fire: Series of Failures Led to Ship’s Destruction

“The Navy is committed to upholding the principles of due process and a fair trial,” Robertson said.

Had Mays been found guilty, he could have faced life in prison.

More than 60 people, including about 40 sailors, were treated for minor injuries during four days of fighting flames on the 844-foot-long (257-meter) warship, which was docked for maintenance at its homeport at U.S. Naval Base San Diego.

The Bonhomme Richard, whose size ranks second in the U.S. Navy fleet to that of an aircraft carrier, was so badly damaged, the $1.2 billion vessel had to be scrapped.

(Reporting By Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.

Unlock Exclusive Insights Today!

Join the gCaptain Club for curated content, insider opinions, and vibrant community discussions.

Sign Up
Back to Main
polygon icon polygon icon

Why Join the gCaptain Club?

Access exclusive insights, engage in vibrant discussions, and gain perspectives from our CEO.

Sign Up
close

JOIN OUR CREW

Maritime and offshore news trusted by our 105,979 members delivered daily straight to your inbox.

gCaptain’s full coverage of the maritime shipping industry, including containerships, tankers, dry bulk, LNG, breakbulk and more.