By Louis Casiano | Fox News
The Southern California boat company whose vessel caught fire earlier this month, killing 34 people, announced a voluntary indefinite suspension of its fleet on Tuesday.
In a Facebook post, Santa Barbara-based Truth Aquatics said the company thinks it’s important to “dedicate our entire efforts to make our boats models of new regulations.” It said it would continue to work with the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.
The company apologized to customers with reservations and those seeking reservations. It said it has received calls and requests for tours.
Authorities are still conducting criminal and safety inquiries regarding the Sept. 2 fire abord the Conception. The vessel was on a three-day Channel Islands excursion when it caught fire.
Thirty-three passengers and a crew member died when they were sleeping below deck and became trapped, authorities said. The captain and four deckhands jumped into the water. The ship later sank.
The Conception had passed its most recent safety inspections with no violations. The company’s two other boats, the Truth and Vision, have not been in operation since the Labor Day conflagration.
Investigators concluded an examination of the 75-foot-long vessel Friday at Port Hueneme, a naval base northwest of Los Angeles.
Pieces of the boat were sent to labs for additional testing and documents seized from the company by federal investigators are still being analyzed.
Truth Aquatics owners Glen and Dana Fritzler have filed a lawsuit under a pre-Civil War provision of maritime law to avoid liability.
The suit said the Fritzlers “used reasonable care to make the Conception seaworthy, and she was, at all relevant times, tight, staunch and strong, fully and properly manned, equipped and supplied and in all respects seaworthy and fit for the service in which she was engaged.”
The diving community has rallied around the Fritzlers and has raised more than $18,000 to help crew members who have become unemployed since the fire.
Fox News reporters Frank Miles and Hollie McKay and The Associated Press contributed to this report.