Poor Captain Jonathan!
Last night’s “Deadliest Catch” featured a new kind of danger on the high seas due to a VERY unstable deckhand Danny Chiu.
Many sites have been critical of how Captain Jonathan Hillstrand handled the unstable Chiu when he spun out of control on the Time Bandit. I think after reading his bio from Discovery Channel’s website it’s very easy to tell what the problem was and is:
Hailing from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Danny Chiu started fishing at age 22 on a catcher/processor and did his first voyage manning the “gut table” for 3 months. After that trip he told himself that he would never do that again.
As luck would have it, he eventually accepted a job from the same boat working the deck. Since then he has spent at least 10 years on the Bering Sea fishing crab.
He says he’s always had good fishing opportunities because of his good work ethic. At 36, he’s the oldest fisherman on deck.
Recently out of rehab for “all of the above,” he is trying to live sober now. He has his able-bodied seaman card, and would like to captain and eventually have his own boat.
It’s a pretty safe bet that Danny needs to go back for another round of treatment because he was in no way sober on the Time Bandit when he spiraled out of control and became a danger to the crew, boat, and himself.
What were Captain Jonathan’s options? I think his method was incredibly smart considering Chiu’s mental state. Heading the boat for home while the crew slept and having police waiting at the dock brought everyone back to safety on the ship. That is a good captain’s #1 priority and Jonathan Hillstrand did just that.
And Danny if you are reading this, remember the Maritime laws of mutiny. That’s exactly what you were trying to incite on board with your conduct and threats against the captain.
18 U.S. Code § 2192 – Incitation of seamen to revolt or mutiny
Whoever, being of the crew of a vessel of the United States, on the high seas, or on any other waters within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, endeavors to make a revolt or mutiny on board such vessel, or combines, conspires, or confederates with any other person on board to make such revolt or mutiny, or solicits, incites, or stirs up any other of the crew to disobey or resist the lawful orders of the master or other officer of such vessel, or to refuse or neglect his proper duty on board thereof, or to betray his proper trust, or assembles with others in a tumultuous and mutinous manner, or makes a riot on board thereof, or unlawfully confines the master or other commanding officer thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
UPDATE: Captain Jonathan Hillstrand responds to criticism by the Captains for how he handled Danny Chiu’s mutinous behavior!