UK & World News

  • 3 December 2013, 15:07

Fugitive Sex Offender 'Stole Seattle Ferry'

A Seattle-to-Canada ferry service has said it has had a "wake-up call" after a sex offender allegedly managed to steal one of its boats.

Samuel Kenneth McDonough, a homeless man, was arrested by a SWAT team who boarded the Victoria Clipper on Sunday, seven hours after the ship motored away and drifted in Elliott Bay.

McDonoughwas jailed for investigation of burglary, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief and an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.

The 33-year-old, who had his bail set at $200,000 (122,000), was allegedly able to jump a fence and set the high-speed catamaran adrift with no one else on board.

"It first appeared the clipper ship was adrift," a spokesman for Seattle Police Department said.

"However, when a tugboat went to retrieve the boat they discovered there was a man on board."

Clipper ships make daily runs from Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia, and are popular with tourists, carrying about 300,000 passengers a year.

The incident puts a spotlight on the security of ferry services in Washington state.

Darrell Bryan, chief executive of Clipper Vacations, said: "We were very, very fortunate this individual did not run into a state ferry or grain ship out by the grain terminal. It was a hell of a wake-up call.

"This should never have occurred. He shouldn't have been able to get into the wheelhouse. It's supposed to be locked."

A decade ago, an Algerian man was arrested as he tried to enter the US from Canada at a ferry landing in Port Angeles, Washington, with plans to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

Known as the Millennium Bomber, Ahmed Ressam was later sentenced to 37 years in jail over the 1999 incident.