HMS Bounty lost?

17 abandon stricken ship, HMS Bounty, off N.C. coast

The ship, which is still floating upright and intact, is surrounded by 18-foot seas and 40 mph winds as Hurricane Sandy moves through the area.

The Bounty makes frequent trips around the country, offering a glimpse into maritime history, according to the ship's website. It was originally a British transport vessel, and the replica has appeared in several films, including the 2006 movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest," with Johnny Depp. Its last stop before its winter hiatus in Galveston, Texas, was to be in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 10.
Comment: Official site. It was built for Mutiny on the Bounty (1962 film)


  1. Update this AM: 14 rescued, 2 missing from HMS Bounty off N.C. coast:

    Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET: A search was under way Monday for two crew members of the stricken ship HMS Bounty, which sank off the coast of North Carolina, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

  2. WSJ: Heavy Seas Claim Famous Tall Ship

    It was unclear why the ship was sailing in a gigantic storm, when even the U.S. Navy sent ships away from port to get out of the hurricane's path.

    Tracie Simonin, director of the HMS Bounty Organization LLC, which owns the ship, couldn't be reached for comment. The Associated Press reported her as saying the crew had been "in constant contact" with the National Hurricane Center and had been trying to "make it around the storm."

    Those rescued escaped the ship in two lifeboats, radioing a distress call Monday morning to the Coast Guard before abandoning ship, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Michael Patterson. They were taken to a Coast Guard base at Elizabeth City, N.C., where they were questioned about what happened and who remained missing, Mr. Patterson said. Names of the rescued weren't released.

    After the vessel was abandoned, it was hit by 40-miles-per-hour winds and 18-foot waves. The ship filled with water and sank. Coast Guard teams continued to look for the missing crew members, using an HC-130 Hercules airplane and a helicopter, Mr. Patterson said.

    The wreck brings a dramatic end to a ship created for drama. It was built for 1962's "Mutiny on the Bounty"—which starred Mr. Brando—about the famous revolt by British seamen in 1789.

  3. CSMonitor followup article: Coast Guard concludes HMS Bounty captain went down with ship

    (Article has a photo of the sinking)

    “The thing that’s striking is why Walbridge put himself in that position,” Sal Mercogliano, a maritime history professor at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., told the Monitor this week. “It’s hard for a lot of people to fathom.”

    Walbridge, who was known to claiming that a ship is safer at sea than in port during a storm, intended to skirt around the hurricane. But late Sunday, the ship apparently lost power and began taking on water as it tried to make its way around Cape Hatteras.

  4. NYTimes on 11/3/2012: Evoking 18th-Century Drama, a Tragedy on the Bounty

    After a summer of festivals and sailing, the majestic Bounty was temporarily dry-docked for maintenance in Boothbay Harbor, Me. Often seen with other crew members, caulking seams and painting the hull, was Claudene Christian, 42, her long blond hair topped by a green BOUNTY cap.

    Repairs done, the Bounty set sail two weeks ago for a brief stay in New London, Conn. Then, on Oct. 25, it set out for St. Petersburg, Fla., for a weekend tourism stop, after which it was to spend the winter in Galveston, Tex.
    On Sunday morning, Captain Walbridge said in an e-mail to supporters that “we are just going to keep trying to go fast and squeeze by the storm and land as fast as we can.” But by 11 o’clock that night, one of its generators had failed and, as the organization’s Facebook page reported, the Bounty was “taking on more water than they would like.” Three hours later, these words appeared: “Your prayers are needed.”


    Sometime around 4 a.m., Captain Walbridge issued the order to abandon ship. According to Mr. Bredeson, the crew had often trained for this moment: grab the floating survival suits — often called “Gumby suits” and equipped with strobe lights — stored in a hatch, roll out and slip into the suit, help anyone needing assistance, and head to your assigned life raft, either the one on port side or the one on starboard.

  5. CNN update: Bounty crew calm, joking after Hurricane Sandy nightmare:

    Testifying Friday before a Coast Guard hearing, former Bounty third mate Daniel Cleveland and boatswain Laura Groves revealed breathtaking details about the shipwreck last fall that left a deckhand dead and the captain missing.
    The vessel and its crew of 16 were heading from New London, Connecticut, to St. Petersburg, Florida, when it ran into Sandy's vicious winds and waves 90 miles off North Carolina. The ship began taking on water and eventually it lost power to its pumps and engines. In the 4 a.m. darkness of October 25, Capt. Robin Walbridge gave the order they all knew was coming: abandon ship.
    Dressed in red survival suits, they stood on deck preparing to take to their lifeboats. Suddenly 50-mph winds and up to 30-foot waves flipped the ship horizontally, tossing the crew overboard.
    It was chaos.
    "Everybody panicked at that point," said Groves, fighting back tears as she described the struggle to keep their heads above water.

    Cleveland said he recalled being "thrown around, caught on stuff and underneath stuff and being hit by things." While they were treading water under the Bounty's huge sails, the wind began slamming the sail rigging down "on all of us repeatedly," said Groves. "We were doing our best to swim away from the boat and the rig."
    Cleveland, Groves and a few other crew members found a large piece of wood grating that kept them afloat. "We were all looking for each other," Cleveland said, "but all you could see was a bunch of red suits and there was a lot of yelling."
    In a stroke of luck, the crew clinging to the wood grating found a floating capsule containing an inflatable life raft. With some difficulty they inflated the raft and got inside. They had seen a Coast Guard aircraft circling overhead, giving them confidence a rescue helicopter would arrive soon.
    "We were there for a while telling jokes and stuff," said Cleveland. "No one was in a bad mood -- crying or anything." He said they talked about the terrifying experience they'd just been through and "what we were going to do when we got home."

  6. Hi Jim,
    I loved reading this piece! Well written!

    Merlen Hogg


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