Ship Officer Charged in Death
Feb. 07, 2002
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A ship officer was indicted on misconduct and negligence charges Wednesday in the death of a crewman ordered to clean the ship's emptied cargo tanks while they were still filled with toxic fumes.
Master Gilbert C. Thurston, chief officer on the SS Trinity, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The Trinity was sailing from New York to Houston on May 18, 2000, when Thurston ordered pumpman Frederic Albert Cambra Jr. to mop the empty cargo tanks, according to the federal indictment.
Cambra, of St. Helens, Ore., was overcome by fumes in the tanks, which had been filled with the chemical gasoline additive MTBE, the indictment said. He died after crew members tried to revive him.
Thurston, who worked for Iowa-based Sabine Transportation Co., should have checked that the tanks' air quality was safe before ordering crewmen to begin cleaning, the indictment said.
Thurston, who lives in Naples, did not return calls seeking comment.
The company declined comment.