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Coast Guard to hold hearing on tall ship's sinking

Thursday - 1/10/2013, 1:12pm  ET

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Coast Guard said Thursday it will convene a formal hearing next month into the sinking of a tall ship off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy.

The HMS Bounty sank about 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras during the October storm. One crew member, Claudene Christian, 42, died after she and the other 14 crew members evacuated the ship in two life boats. The captain, Robin Walbridge, 63, of St. Petersburg, Fla., is presumed dead after a three-day search failed to find him.

The Coast Guard said the hearing will take place at a hotel in Portsmouth from Feb. 12 to Feb. 21. During the hearing, the Coast Guard will investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the vessel's sinking. The Coast Guard may also develop recommendations during the hearing to improve the safety of similar vessels. The National Transportation Safety Board will also participate in the investigation and may submit evidence, make recommendations and examine witnesses.

The three-masted sailing ship was built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando, and was featured in several other films over the years, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

The ship's connection to its namesake went back to the original Bounty, whose crew famously took over the ship from its commander, Lt. William Bligh, in April 1789. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian, and Claudene Christian said she was his great-great-great-great-great granddaughter.


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