A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday cited a captain’s “reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” as the probable cause of the October 2012 sinking of the HMS Bounty off the coast of North Carolina.
The tall ship, a replica of the original 18th century British ship of the same name, was famous for appearing in the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty.” It was sailing from New London, Conn., to St. Petersburg, Fla., when it crossed into the path of Hurricane Sandy and sank Oct. 29, 2012.
Two people died in the accident, including the captain and a crewmember. Three others were seriously injured. All but 16 members of the crew were airlifted from the sea by Jayhawk helicopters during the storm. One crewmember’s body was found, and the captain was presumed lost at sea.
The report outlines how a mostly inexperienced crew struggled to keep the ship running and afloat while being battered by 30-foot seas in a voyage the NTSB says “should never have been attempted.”
Although crewmembers said they expressed concerns about sailing with the weather conditions, the captain reportedly said the ship could handle it.
A month before the ill-fated journey, the Bounty’s captain was quoted in a Maine TV station interview as saying that the ship “chased hurricanes,” getting close to the eye of the storm and using the hurricane winds to the ship’s advantage.
According to the report, the owner and operator of the ship, HMS Bounty Organization LLP, did not discourage the captain from making the voyage. The NTSB noted that this failure of safety oversight was a contributing factor to the sinking.
The Jones Act attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent seamen and other workers injured in maritime accidents.