August 4, 2007
Homemade sub nears Queen Mary 2
A Brooklyn man in an 8-foot homemade submersible drifted into a security zone around the cruise ship Queen Mary 2, moored in Brooklyn, N.Y. at approximately 11 a.m. Friday.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard. Philip Riley was in a replica of the "Turtle," a Revolutionary War era submarine, when he came within 200 feet of the 1,132-foot cruise ship from Great Britain.
According to the New York Times report on the incident, Philip Riley is "Duke Riley, a heavily tattooed Brooklyn artist whose waterborne performance projects around New York have frequently landed him in trouble with the authorities."
The Times says Riley "spent the last five months building the vessel as a rough replica of what is believed to have been America’s first submarine, an oak sphere called the Turtle, said to have seen action in New York Harbor during the Revolutionary War."
The Times says Riley's vessel, "resembled something out of Jules Verne by way of Huck Finn, manned by cast members from 'Jackass.'"
The Coast Guard report says the "Turtle" was being towed by two unidentified individuals in a 10-foot rowboat which did not violate the security zone.
The Coast Guard, New York Police Department and Counter Terrorism Unit responded.
The Coast Guard issued two citations to Riley, the first for unsafe sailing conditions and the second for violation of the security zone around the Queen Mary ll.
"They were within about 200 feet of the bow of the Queen Mary ll," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Taylor, the on-scene boarding officer. "NYPD had disembarked the personnel. There was one person in the Turtle, and there were two people in the inflatable raft that was towing the Turtle. The vessel was definitely unsafe to be in the water, there is no way you could avoid a collision in it."
Riley was wearing a life jacket.
"People should be well informed of the security zones in New York and New Jerseys waterways," said Taylor. "Citizens should always stop and think if what they are doing might look suspicious and contact a law enforcement agency if they see something suspicious."
Violations of security zones are punishable by a maximum of a $50,000 fine, five years imprisonment, or both.