Sportfishing Company Under Scrutiny In Baja Boat Sinking

SAN DIEGO (KCBS)— Questions were being raised about a San Diego sportfishing company after its 115-foot boat with Bay Area passengers aboard sank in a flash storm off Mexico’s Baja Peninsula Sunday.

The boat from Baja Sportfishing capsized on the Sea of Cortez when a freak storm struck south of San Felipe around 2:30 a.m., according to Charles Gibson, chief of the Contra Costa County Community College Police Department. Most of the 44 passengers were onboard the luxury fishing boat ‘The Eric’ for an annual Fourth of July fishing trip.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

While the search resumes in favorable conditions Tuesday for seven missing Northern California men that were aboard that ship, The California Secretary of State website claimed the company’s business license has been suspended, but it doesn’t say why or when that happened.

Marilyn Raia, a maritime expert with the law firm Bullivant Houser Bailey, said it’s not clear yet if the company can be held legally liable in this case.

“The fact that there are waves coming on board or that there were heavy waves really isn’t the end of the story,” said Bailey.

In fact the Mexican Navy decided to continue the search after discovering water temperatures were in the 80’s, and that there were likely to be survivors in these conditions.

“You have to find out, was somebody on watch? Was somebody monitoring the radio and the weather? What lifejackets were available?” questioned Raia.

Another key question she raised is whether the vessel was flagged as a U.S. or Mexican boat.

Baja Sportsfishing said its main concern is making sure everyone is accounted for.

The company in the meantime has canceled all of its upcoming trips.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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