A federal grand jury alleges Jerry Nehl Boylan, 67, “was responsible for the safety and security of the vessel, its crew, and its passengers,” according to a statement from US Attorney Nick Hanna’s office.
The indictment alleges that Boylan caused the deaths of 34 people “by his misconduct, negligence, and inattention to his duties.”
CNN has reached out to Boylan’s attorneys, but has not heard back.
The flames might have been sparked by cellphones and batteries left charging overnight — a tragedy that could have been prevented by a night watchman, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said in October.
Three safety violations were cited in the indictment, including failing to have a night watch or roving patrol, failing to conduct sufficient fire drills, and failing to conduct sufficient crew training.
“A pleasant holiday dive trip turned into a hellish nightmare as passengers and one crew member found themselves trapped in a fiery bunkroom with no means of escape,” Hanna said in the statement. “The loss of life that day will forever impact the families of the 34 victims.”
Each charge of seaman’s manslaughter carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, the statement said, adding that Boylan is expected to surrender to federal authorities in the coming weeks.