The U.S. Coast Guard is looking into four laser light “strikes” on commercial vessels that occurred between midnight and 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday in the southern Chesapeake Bay, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting an investigation on several laser light “strikes” aimed at commercial vessels in the southern Chesapeake Bay, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Four incidents occurred between midnight and 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, involving the motor vessels Salome, Bulk Spain and AM Annaba; and a pilot vessel as it was sailing back to the pilot launch.
Coast Guard spokesperson Barry Bena told American Shipper this morning no more incidents have occurred since Wednesday.
Prior to Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun said laser light incidents also occurred:
• On Monday around 2:00 a.m., involving the Hoegh Osaka;
• On Sunday at around 4:00 a.m., involving the cruise ship Carnival Pride;
• And on April 7 at around 1:00 a.m., involving the Maersk Kolkata.
“Laser lights and other bright lights can be a hazard to navigation,” USCG spokesperson Trish Elliston said. “The most likely scenario is the laser would blind or distract a pilot, which would prevent the pilot from seeing a smaller vessel. This could cause a collision or other serious incident in the shipping channel.”
Under the Laser Safety Act, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly and willfully cause or attempt to cause bodily injury by shining, pointing or focusing a laser pointer beam on an individual operating a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft. Violators of the act could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
The Coast Guard is currently working with state and local law enforcement, and the Chesapeake Bay Pilots to investigate the incident.