Boat/Watercraft Injuries
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HMS Bounty Safety Panel Hearing

What Happened

The owner of the HMS Bounty declined to testify at a hearing to examine what led the ship to sink during Hurricane Sandy.

A federal safety panel began a two week hearing on February 12, 2013. The HMS Bounty was an 18th-century replica built for the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty.” The Coast Guard was notified by an attorney the owner of the ship would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to protect himself from incrimination.

The ship sank 90 miles of the coast of North Carolina (NC) after it left out of Portsmouth, Virginia (VA). The ship had set sail to beat out the storm to try and avoid heavy damage. One member of the HMS Bounty's crew died and the captain was never found after the ship sank off Cape Hatteras during the October storm. A few weeks prior to the sinking, the HMS Bounty was in Boothbay Harbor Shipyards and it was reported that rotted frames and fasteners (trunnels) were found throughout the ship.

An expert in tall ships testified he won’t ever know what was going on in the mind of the Bounty’s captain. But he would not have made that same fateful choice.

The Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers’ Perspective

Operators of boats, like automobile and truck drivers, have a legal obligation to operate watercraft in a safe manner. It’s disheartening to think that something as enjoyable as boating can lead to serious injuries or death, but these are the realities of operating a watercraft. In 2011, the Coast Guard counted 4588 accidents that involved 758 deaths, 3081 injuries and approximately $52 million dollars of damage to property. These statistics do not include the numbers of injuries or wrongful deaths occurring from transportation boating accidents, such as ferry accidents, shipping accidents, or cruise ship accidents. If you were involved in a boating accident that was caused by negligence or a boat defect, you may be entitled to compensation. A private consultation with a Virginia (VA) boat accident attorney trained in the rules and regulations governing admiralty law can help you seek the financial recoveries you are entitled.

Potentially Helpful Info:

Our firm has written a guide discussing what an individual or family member should do when a serious injury or death has occurred in connection with a boat accident in Virginia. Download the free guide here.

Have Questions? Check Out Our Firm’s FAQs:

This link is to our FAQs dealing with boating accidents in Virginia.


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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