The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating what appear to be a series of intentional laser attacks on pilots of commercial shipping vessels in the southern Chesapeake Bay, the Annapolis Capital reported Thursday.
At least seven incidents have been reported thus far in the past month, with the four most recent occurring early Wednesday morning.
Eyewitnesses have said that “During all incidents, the light was described as steady, powerful and somewhat painful to the eyes”.
Laser harmful for vessels:
A Coast Guard official said in a statement that a successful laser attack could “blind or distract a pilot which would prevent the pilot from seeing a smaller vessel.”
“This could cause a collision or other serious incident in the shipping channel,” said the spokeswoman, Lt. Trish Elliston.
An offence punishable by law:
The laser attacks are reminiscent of similarly reported attacks in recent years on commercial airline pilots near major airports and are punishable by fines and jail time under federal law.
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Source: Capital Gazette