Back in November, our blog discussed how the rough waters created by Hurricane Sandy resulted in the tragic sinking of the HMS Bounty off the coast of North Carolina.
To recap, the Bounty -- a replica of an 18th-century three-mast sailing ship -- set sail from Connecticut for Florida as Hurricane Sandy roared its way up the East Coast. Here, the captain was aware of the approaching hurricane and went to great lengths to sail around it, but was unable to completely escape the path of the storm.
Unfortunately, the ship eventually took on too much water, and sank in the high seas and brutal winds. While the Coast Guard was able to lift most crew members to safety, one crew member died in the ship accident, while the 63-year-old captain remains missing and is presumed dead.
In recent developments, the Coast Guard is currently holding a hearing on the matter to learn more about what happened that fateful day and whether there was "any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law."
The hearing, which experts anticipate will last roughly eight days, is not a criminal proceeding (although certain matters can be brought to the attention of federal prosecutors). Instead, various witnesses will testify under oath, answering questions by the Coast Guard, and lawyers representing both the Bounty's owners and the family of the deceased sailor.
In fact, the chief mate testified earlier this week, shedding some light on what transpired on the deck of the Bounty.
Specifically, he indicated that before heading out, he informed the captain that the winds on the ship's route were predicted to be hurricane force, but was told by him that "the ship was able to withstand that safely." He also testified that the captain initially refused to relay a distress call to the Coast Guard during the storm despite the failure of the main engine, the breakdown of two generators and the rupture of a fuel tank.
The chief mate did indicate, however, that the captain approached his route through Hurricane Sandy like he had several other hurricanes, and that he would never intentionally put the crew or ship in danger.
Stay tuned for updates on this fascinating story ...
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, remember that you do have rights and you do have options.
The following is provided for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Captain rebuffed pleas to abandon Bounty amid Sandy, mate says," David Zucchino, Feb. 12, 2013