IMO, since this was a police/security matter,not a life-threatening scenario, why didn't they simply pull closer to shore, approx SanLuis Obispo, and simply coordibate a '' helicopter pick-up '' operation jointly with US Coast Guard and The nearest sheriff deparment ??? Since the ship would have pressed the charges, the authorities woould have reacted.....
Yes, the passenger alleged to have caused the assault should defenitely be on the hook for related costs.
No, I've never witnessed something like that, as a passenger, a TA or a shore side worker.