Two Canadian sailors were sentenced to 30 months in prison for intentionally setting their sailboat on fire, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Emerson Rome and Bradley Wise, both now 31-years-old, were off the coast of Washington State on Oct. 28, 2016, when they set their vessel, named "Tarry-A-Bit," on fire.
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter, Steadfast, began to approach Rome and Wise on their sailboat when one of them started to light parts of the boat on fire, causing flames to spread across the boat.
Rome and Wise then began steering their boat in circles, making it difficult for Coast Guard personnel to put out the fire.
When the boat was engulfed in flames, the men jumped off the vessel and had to be rescued from the frigid waters by Coast Guard crewmembers, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Rome and Wise were convicted of conspiracy to commit violence against maritime navigation, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
“The actions of these individuals created a great danger to themselves and the crewmembers of the cutter Steadfast,” said Rear Admiral Todd Sokalzuk, Commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard district in Alameda, California, in a statement. “The conviction and sentence demonstrate that the Coast Guard will seek to bring justice to those that endanger others on the open ocean.”
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, Steadfast crewmembers did attempt to put out the fire, but Tarry-A-Bit ended up sinking.
Rome and Wise’s clothing tested positive for methamphetamine, according to a government sentencing memo.
Rome and Wise set their boat on fire to prevent Coast Guard members from boarding, according to a plea agreement. No contraband was recovered from the debris.