Jul 28, 2014
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After Sinking, Coast Guard Conducts HMS Bounty Hearings

Hearings started last week, expected to conclude in coming days.

Over three months after the HMS Bounty sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the death one crew member and disappearance of the ship's captain, a federal probe into the exact circumstances surrounding the incident started last week and is expected to wrap up in coming days.

The HMS Bounty – 180-foot, three-mast tall ship and a replica of the original, created for the 1962 Marlon Brando film – was abandoned and sunk off the waters of Cape Hatteras, N.C. after it was caught in treacherous waters during Hurricane Sandy.

Fourteen of the crew's 16 members were rescued by members of the Coast Guard, shown in a harrowing YouTube video that has amassed over 1.2 million views so far.

The investigation, conducted by the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board, will reportedly look for "evidence of 'misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law" according to a CNN report. The investigation into the ship's sinking is expected to conclude on Feb. 21.

Robert Hansen, owner and HMS Bounty as well as East Setauket-based Islandaire, has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and chosen not to appear before the panel, according to reports.

The Bounty was known to make frequent stops in Port Jefferson, most recently stopping before July 4 for a fundraiser for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

A thorough report of the ship's demise was detailed recently in Outside magazine by Kathryn Miles (who is also live-tweeting the hearing proceedings), interviewing past crew members, other sailors familiar with the vessel, ship workers who helped repair the boat, and many others.

The Coast Guard noted in November that the following would be investigated: 

  • The cause of the accident
  • Whether there is evidence that any failure of material or equipment was involved or contributed to the casualty
  • Whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence, or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty
  • Whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard or other government agency personnel caused or contributed to the casualty
  • And whether the accident should be further investigated by a Marine Board of Investigation

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