USCG investigating laser-beam strikes on vessels in Chesapeake Bay

The US Coast Guard (USCG) says it is investigating several incidents from this week of commercial vessels being targeted by lasers from the shoreline in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

On Monday around 2am the car carrier Hoegh Osaka was struck by the powerful, steady beam.

On Wednesday between midnight and 3am the car carrier Salome and bulk carriers Bulk Spain and AM Annaba were victimized.

Other targets this week have included a cruise ship.

And back on April 7 the container ship Maersk Kolkata was similarly affected.

The beams have been described as painful to the eyes and authorities say witness accounts indicate the source to be somewhere between Drum Point and Cove Point.

Under the Laser Safety Act, anyone convicted of knowingly and deliberately shining a laser at operators of vehicles with intent to cause bodily harm could face a 10-year jail term and $2,500 fine.

USCG, state and local law enforcement are working together on the case.

A USCG spokesman said such laser targeting can be hazardous to navigation and can cause larger ships to not see smaller ones.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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