Sunday that a Seattle
man has been charged with insurance fraud for allegedly sinking his own cabin
cruiser, because of financial burdens and the frustration with maintaining the
vessel. It turns out the man is a petty officer and electronics technician for
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who is stationed aboard
the Miller Freeman, a ship frequently seen docked in Kodiak.
documents filed this month by prosecutors in King County,
Washington, 50-year-old Brian Lewis scuttled his
boat, the 36-foot Jubilee, a 1967 Chris Craft Cavalier, in Puget
Sound on March 22nd last year. He rowed a borrowed dinghy back to
shore. Later the same day, Lewis flew to Kodiak to join the crew of the Miller
Freeman, an oceanographic research vessel.
The report says
that three days later, Lewis filed an insurance claim with USAA Insurance
reporting the Jubilee sank accidentally. Due to environmental concerns, the
Washington State Department of Natural Resources salvaged the vessel at a cost of
2,866-dollars to the state.
inspection revealed a hole, apparently drilled into the bottom of the Jubilee,
and that two main engine sea strainers appeared to have been broken with a
hammer. Officials concluded that the vessel had been sunk deliberately. After
being confronted by investigators, Lewis admitted he intentionally sunk the Jubilee,
but that his actions were motivated not by greed, but by frustration.
Prior to its sinking,
the Jubilee had been listed for sale with Mahina (Muh-HEE-nuh)Yachts for 28,500-dollars.
Lewis, who is
currently out at sea, could not be reached for comment, and officials from NOAA
declined to comment on the ongoing case.