2006_11_siferry.jpgSpeaking of the legal system, the tugboat that helped during the Staten Island Ferry crash in October 2003 is now asking for $8 million in rewards. According to "ancient maritime law," mariners are encouraged to help other boaters in distress, with financial compensation as a reward, and now the Dorothy J.'s owner and crew believe they are entitled to the money.

The city is arguing the ferry was never in danger of sinking and that the Dorothy J. was contracted to move ferries anyway. However, the Dorothy J's second mate, Robert G. Seckers, he tells the NY Times that the city told him "not to keep his tug tied to the ferry after the crash, because the much larger ferry might sink and take the tug down with it." Plus, he says the tugboat helped stabilize the ferry for rescue efforts.

A judge will be hearing the ferry case as well as other civil cases from the incident. The Daily News reports that he will also decide whether the awards will top out at $14 million - the worth of the ferry. The ferry's pilot Richard Smith was sentenced to 18 months in prison earlier this year, after pleasing guilty to manslaughter.