Coast Guard Winds Up Hearings on the Sinking of HMS Bounty

bountychiefmate1The US Coast Guard has wrapped up eight days of hearings on the sinking of the replica of the HMS Bounty on October 29th of last year.  Two died in the sinking, crew member Claudine Christian and Captain Robin Waldridge whose body has never been found.  The hearings, which were streamed live on-line, were gripping, at times difficult to watch and yet hard to turn away from. For those who missed them, the first several days are posted on Youtube by Wavy TV 10, while days three through eight have been posted on Youtube by Zach Lash.

L. Jaye Bell commented on Facebook:

It’s over. I liked what the lead investigator said to John Svendsen [the Chief Mate onthe Bounty] at the end.

“The question I struggle with is “Why?” From the time we met the crew in Elizabeth City, this wasn’t easy; you all showed a lot of courage. You were with a man who was always FOR safety, and they still stood here and praised him. Why? Why make this choice with this crew?”

John’s answer spoke volumes,” I struggle with that myself.”

 The commander continued, “As a party of interest, you did a commendable job of being here. The story of what happened aboard the HMS Bounty is going to educate a lot of people.”

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7 Responses to Coast Guard Winds Up Hearings on the Sinking of HMS Bounty

  1. Mark Breuer says:

    What is most interesting is how even by the way she ended, Bounty has things to teach us about the past. How many ships vanished without a trace due to storms? How many people, ships, and cargoes were lost? Here we have first hand accounts of how a ship was lost, but with modern means to rescue the crew. These sailors set sail knowing there was a storm and attempting to get around it. How many who went before them left without knowing there was a storm? This is a powerful less on the power of the sea.

  2. Steve Douglas says:

    I am unable to find any reference anywhere as to why the “official” HMS Bounty Facebook page was taken down prior to the Coast Guard hearing. Does anyone know who or why?

  3. Rick Spilman says:

    I can only guess why the Facebook page was taken down. On the first day of the hearings, Robert Hansen, owner of the HMS Bounty, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and chose not to testify. I presume that his lawyer advised him that he had some legal liability. My guess is that the Facebook page was taken down for a similar reason.

  4. Captain Jeff Neuwirth says:

    In response to Mark Breuer’s comment “how many who went before them left without knowing there was a storm…” I reflect that the Chinese had functioning barometers in the 6th century and us white folk had been using them widely since the 13th century. Pacific Islanders didn’t have them, nor need them as they could judge longitude by wave shape a thousand years before the chronometer. The technology for predicting large storms is simple, cheap, low tech, reliable and in some cultures innate. I recall that the bounty had several barometers.
    If you get my meaning, there was no excuse to put this old basket in harms way. The vessel was a known quantity. The weather was a known quantity as in no previous time in human history. The crew seems to be the “loose cannon.” You don’t need a weather man to know the way the wind blows…

  5. Rick Spilman says:

    I am not familiar with Chinese 6th century barometers, but Torricelli invented the barometer in 1643 and the first shipboard barometer in the West was developed by Edward Nairne for Cook’s second voyage in 1772. And a barometer can predict weather 12 to 24 hours in advanced and is nearly useless for predicting the track of hurricanes. I think this metaphor is a being stretched beyond all usefulness.

    Calling the crew names is unfair and rather beside the point. Despite all the claims in the media and by others who really should know better, the Bounty never sailed into the eye of the storm nor even into the hurricane. The Bounty sank in a nasty gale off Cape Hatteras. It had been in that sort of weather before and should have been able to survive it. What is so valuable about the Coast Guard hearings is that the key facts about the condition of the ship are emerging. Understanding exactly what went wrong on the ship is far more useful than sweeping generalities about weather.

  6. Peter says:

    De vogels trekken weg.
    De bladeren ruisen in de wind.
    De storm steekt op
    ……en toen werd het stil.

  7. Peter says:

    The birds fly away.
    The leaves rustling in the wind.
    The storm lights up
    …… and then it was quiet.

    Fair Winds, Claudine & Robin