Skip to comments.HMS Bounty sinking investigated
Posted on 01/13/2013 7:02:16 AM PST by Dartman
January 13, 2013 A formal hearing is planned as part of the investigation of the sinking of tall ship HMS Bounty, in which two lives were lost.
The United States Coast Guard has announced a formal hearing into the sinking of the tall ship HMS Bounty.
The nine-day hearing is scheduled to begin February 12 in Portsmouth, Virginia.
"The investigation will examine the facts and circumstances relating relating to the sinking of the vessel and will develop conclusions and recommendations to improve the safety and operations of similar vessels," the coast guard says.
Strong winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy in late October caused the Canadian-built ship to take on water.
Fourteen of the ship's 16 crew members were airlifted to safety, but the ship's 63-year-old captain, Robin Walbridge, was swept overboard.
Coast guard helicopters searched over 12,000 square nautical miles in a 90-day search for Walbridge without success.
Two other crew members were also swept overboard. One made it to a life raft, but another, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was recovered unresponsive, and later died.
HMS Bounty was built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, in 1960, for the 1962 film portrayal of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty.
USCG Final Report/ Sinking of HMS Bounty
Vessel was designed in the last century.
Master put to sea and sailed directly into Hurricane Sandy
Vessel overcome by severely adverse storm seas.
End of Report/ Nine days of Hearings saved
Yes, but there is some additional information.
The engine failed and so the vessel could not maneuver.
The vessel had just been in the boatyard in Maine and the
engines were overhauled. Something somewhere in the overhaul could very easily been done incorrectly.
I did not think the vessel sailed directly into Hurricane Sandy. However, your second point has many of us wondering why she put to sea in the first place. Of course the same
question could be asked of the Captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Claudene Christian, one of the victims, was a University of Southern California Song Girl in 1991. Song Girls perform dance routines and lead yells at football games.
Mel Gibson did it. He got drunk and ... Just ask Anthony Hopkins.
I was on that ship when she was docked in Nantucket for tours, about $5 bucks to go aboard and look around. They had recreaters in period costume (sort of like the USS Constitution) who would explain the operation and routine of the ship. They did not appear to be doing brisk business.
The HMS Bounty was far from the first ship to sink off Hatteras in a storm and it won’t be the last. That’s some fairly rough water under the best of conditions.
The decision to sail on was a mistake. Two lives were lost as well as a beautiful craft. What can possibly be gained by dragging the matter out? Is there some dispute over liability?
Even properly overhauled engines cannot run when the bilge is swamped. From what I’ve seen, this was poor decision making in the face of perilous weather, perhaps driven by “get home-itis.”
Thanks for not using “floundered”. That only happens on the Grand Banks!
Here’s a pretty good story ... one of the guys who was actually on the ship, lots of background:
Fletcher Christian's DNA has been idnetified from his descendents!
The Pitcairn Islands are a British Overseas Territory with a population of about 55. Bounty Day is celebrated on 23 January by Pitcairn Islanders in commemoration of the 1790 burning of the Bounty, and on 8 June as the national holiday on Norfolk Island to commemorate the 1856 arrival of settlers from Pitcairn Island.
I saw this ship shortly before the accident when she was in St. Augustine. Lots of differences from the original ship, especially in height between decks and overall size. No frickin’ WAY would I have been on this ship in that storm.
The new issue of Popular Mechanics also has a great
article about the Bounty wreck.
RIP Claudene Christian
Maybe they should look into the mutiny, while they’re atit
In the summer of 1963, the Bounty replica showed up at the Seattle Seafair festivities and was moored at the dock near Ivar’s restaurant. She wasn’t open for tours and my Dad knew the skipper, so our whole family got on board and we had lunch with the Seafair Pirates. It was pretty exciting for two grade school kids climbing all over that vessel.
The USCG is not “dragging” it out, it is their job to investigate collisions, sinkings, loss of life, oil spills etc.
TM: Link, in case you missed it.
The captain was very experienced (and had sailed that ship for years) and planned to escape the hurricane by going out to sea, waiting it out, and then continuing down the coast after it had passed by. Possibly she could have done it if the engine hadn’t failed.
But I suspect that the answer to the question as to why she sailed is because the owner wanted her to sail in order to meet the schedule for the next docking of the ship. This ship sailed all over the place and had a fairly full schedule of stops, at which they charged visitors about $10 each to board and look around.
The ship stopped here in St Augustine and had a huge crowd of visitors.
So it’s possible that she was under pressure to meet the schedule and decided that this was the quickest and maybe even safest way to get where she was going. The owner was actually the one who reported the ship missing (since the communications system also seems to have failed).
In any case, it’s terrible that two lives were lost in this sinking, and also terrible that the ship was lost. I guess it’s a good reminder that, with all our technology, the sea is still stronger than we are.
That was a very compelling, well-written article, full of personal and functional detail. Thank you for posting a link to it.
Sighted storm, sailed into same
In modern times anyone who purposely heads into a hurricane in a wooden boat for a thrill is an idiot.
She had an interesting link to the original Bounty...
Claudene Christian, a fifth great-granddaughter of Fletcher Christian, who led the famous mutiny against Captain William Bligh on the HMS Bounty in 1789, perished today when the replica Bounty was damaged in Hurricane Sandy. Claudene was a member of the crew aboard the replica Bounty that was constructed for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty. She had always been interested in the ship because of her ancestry and joined the crew in May of this year.
Sounds like he was a very good captain, very thorough, very concerned for the welfare and safety of his crew, with one flaw, he actually enjoyed flirting with hurricanes, a “fast ride.”
He also believed, and not without reason, that a ship was safer at sea in a hurricane than docked. These biases were further encouraged by pressure from the owner to meet schedule. So, he sailed, but not without giving crew the option to decline before sailing.
He was boxed in, ultimately, with his choice being the shoals of Hatteras on the west and the worst of the storm to his east. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Had the engine not failed and generators not gotten swamped, maybe they would have made it.
If he’d have put into port at Hampton Roads, he’d be alive, Ms. Christian would be as well, and the HMS Bounty wouldn’t have joined so many others there beneath the Atlantic.
Second-guessing doesn’t do anything at this point, though. He did what he thought was best and paid with his life.
I have a vinyl copy of the music from MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1962). There is a nice book with it that says the Bounty was built thirty feet longer than the original to allow for engines. It did not depend on wind.
From my limited Navy experiences, a ship is better able to ride out a storm at sea instead of cooped up in a port. There is little room to maneuver, and the terrific damage that the swells can cause at dock will stove in even steel-plated hulls. Ropes and lines can snap, or rip the bollards and cleats off or tear out the dock. I know the Navy puts all capable out of port, and moves others to open anchorages to keep them safer than at dockside.
While I'm sure that future planning for the Bounty figured into its movement, I'm also sure that the same action would have occurred had she been scheduled for a six-month stay. Ships belong at sea, not in port, especially at dangerous times.
To all- please ping me to Canadian topics.