300-foot yacht 'arrested' in wrongful death case

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SEATTLE —

U.S. Marshals have seized a 300-foot yacht moored in Ballard's Salmon Bay, holding the vessel in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit.

 

The boat was seized after the family of a woman who drowned while working on the vessel filed a lawsuit against the boat's owner, who lives in Malta.

 

A federal judge signed an arrest warrant, according to court documents obtained by KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

 

According to the lawsuit, Lia Hawkins, 33, was throwing scrap metal off the upper deck of the yacht in October, 2010, when she fell. She struck the dock, about 15 feet below, hit her head, and drowned. Divers recovered her body the next day.

 

The boat, now known as Sahara, was once a NOAA named "The Protector" that served as a breakwater at the Kirkland Yacht Club marina for several years.  Kirkland residents complained it wrecked their views and celebrated the day it was towed away.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Alison Grande said it appears the plan is to tow the boat to an impound location.  The owner is behind on moorage, and someone else wants the spot.