Coast Guard Suspends Search for Captain of Ship Sunk by Sandy

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Captain of Ship Sunk by Sandy

This video shows the dramatic United States Coast Guard (USCG) rescue of 14 people from the 180-foot replica of the HMS BOUNTY sailing ship on October 29, 2012, that we wrote about last week. Reuters reported on November 2, 2012, that the HMS BOUNTY left New London, Connecticut, on October 25 en route to St. Petersburg, Florida. However, the ship sank roughly 90 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in high seas caused by Hurricane Sandy after its water pumps apparently failed. According to Reuters, the HMS BOUNTY was about 160 miles from the eye of the storm when it foundered.

As we mentioned last week, one crewmember swept overboard, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was pronounced dead. Reuters reported that the USCG suspended its search for the HMS BOUNTY’s missing captain, 63-year-old Robin Walbridge.

Reuters reported that the captain’s last communication to the ship’s Facebook page on October 27 said, “I think we are going to be into this for several days. The weather looks like even after the eye goes by, it will linger for a couple of days. We are just going to keep trying to go fast and squeeze by the storm and land as fast as we can.”

Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Michael Patterson told Reuters that Sandy was an “unprecedented storm,” but added that professional mariners know how to take avoidance measures. “This has been classified as a major marine casualty due to the loss of life and the gross tonnage of the vessel,” Patterson told Reuters. “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 of interest as they’re identified.”

Patterson told Reuters that investigators will “then be able to determine if negligence, misconduct, or equipment failure contributed to the sinking.” If negligence, misconduct or equipment failure contributed to an unseaworthy condition on the HMS BOUNTY, the survivors from the HMS BOUNTY and the families of the deceased are entitled to damages under the law. Latti & Anderson has more than 50 years of experience investigating maritime claims, and we have secured several verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million for clients who were injured or lost loved ones on the water. Latti & Anderson LLP employs its own full-time investigator with a fishing industry background, which is important in its own investigation as to the cause of a sinking and injury or death to crew.

We have more information about boating accidents and sinkings available on our website, and you can complete the form on this page or contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to let our Boston maritime attorneys review your case.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers