The Baltimore Sun

Dispute delays departure of vessel in bay

The Coast Guard is detaining a Malta-flagged ship in the Chesapeake Bay while the agency investigates a Monday evening dispute involving officers and crew members, government officials said yesterday.

Few details were released yesterday, but a Coast Guard spokesman for the Baltimore area said the ship is subject to a review that could take some time, delaying the departure of the Ocean Victory from Maryland waters.

"We responded as a matter of safety for the crew," said the spokesman, Petty Officer John Edwards.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Ayla Stevens said officials arrived at the ship about 6 p.m. Monday after receiving a distress call. At the time, the 328-foot vessel was in the bay at the mouth of the Patuxent River, near Drum Point in Southern Maryland.

"The pilots aboard had a disagreement with some of the crew members," Stevens said. "The Coast Guard came to investigate to make sure that everyone was OK. There were no reports of injuries, and no arrests were made."

Stevens would not comment specifically on the nature of the dispute.


: Sentencing

Man gets 11 years in 2 bank robberies

A Baltimore man was sentenced yesterday to more than 11 years in prison for robbing banks in Baltimore City and Baltimore County in 2002, the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland said.

Gregory McNeill, 57, was found to be a career offender based on a previous conviction in state court for armed robbery and two prior convictions for escape, prosecutors said.

McNeill pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery, admitting that he held up the Susquehanna Bank in the first block of Light St. in downtown Baltimore Nov. 12, 2002, and a different branch of the same bank in the 9900 block of Liberty Road in Baltimore County.

Authorities said McNeill got $2,200 in the first holdup - in which he held in his hands under his jacket - and $7,550 in the second robbery.

Baltimore County

: Timonium

Man pleads guilty in $1.4 million theft

A Timonium man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.4 million from a company contracted by the Navy to build unmanned planes known as drones, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said yesterday.

William A. Armstrong, 51, admitted committing bank fraud in U.S. District Court and could receive a maximum of 30 years in prison, prosecutors said. Armstrong, an accountant, admitted stealing amounts between $31,000 and $222,000 each year for 12 years from Pioneer UAV Inc., a company jointly formed by U.S.-based AAI Corp. and Israel Aircraft Industries, according to court papers.

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