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Raleigh, N.C. (AP) -The main reason the tall ship Bounty sank during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 after sailing from New London, Conn., was because the captain and management made a bad decision to sail into the storm, a U.S. Coast Guard report said Thursday, echoing the conclusions of other federal investigators before them.
Although the inadequate preparation of the crew and the ship were also factors, "most critical was the failure of the Bounty's management and master to exercise effective oversight and risk management," the report said.
One crew member died and Capt. Robin Walbridge was lost at sea and is presumed dead after the three-masted ship sank 90 miles off Cape Hatteras, N.C.
The vessel was built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando. The ship also appeared in one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. When not in use by movie makers, the ship was a pier-side attraction for visitors in ports and also served as an educational ship used to teach people how to sail.
The report said the HMS Bounty Organization chose to meet only the lesser standards of a recreational vessel, not the tougher requirements of a passenger craft.
The 108-foot-long ship set sail from New London for St. Petersburg, Fla., Oct. 25, 2012, a day after Sandy reached hurricane strength. The plan was for the Bounty to arrive in St. Petersburg for a Nov. 10 event. But early in the morning of Oct. 29, 2012, the ship sank after taking on more than 10 feet of water. Crew members had to swim for their lives in the dark when the ship overturned.
The NTSB report noted that the wooden vessel took on water even in good sailing conditions and some wood rot also had been recently discovered on the ship.
Workers at a Maine shipyard where the Bounty had received repairs testified during a joint Coast Guard and NTSB hearing last year that the ship had a decaying frame with an undetermined amount of rot in it before leaving port weeks before it sank.