The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered an investigation into why the tall ship HMS Bounty set sail  and sank as Hurricane Sandy headed for the northeast last week. The search for the ship’s missing captain also has been called off.

“We’ll be looking into anything that may have caused the incident or contributed to it, communications, records, schematics of the vessel, testimony of the survivors and crew and other persons o f interest as they’re identified,” said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Michael Patterson. He said the investigation could take months and involve hearings that likely would be open to the public.

The ship, an 18th-century replica built in 1960, was headed from Connecticut to St. Petersburg, Fla., and ultimately on to Galveston, where it was to spend the winter.

But when the Bounty foundered 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Coast Guard search and rescue teams were deployed. Fourteen people were rescued, and one crewmember’s body was recovered. The body Robin Wallbridge, captain of the Bounty for 17 years, was not found.

The maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent seamen and other workers injured in maritime accidents.