In a move that seemed inevitable, the fight to point blame in the deadly last voyage of the HMS Bounty is headed for federal court.
Family members of deckhand Claudene Christian, one of two crewmembers who died in the sinking, filed a $90 million lawsuit last week against the owners of the three-masted square-rigger, which appeared in several Hollywood films, including the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.
The Bounty was a replica of the 18th century British vessel that was rocked by an infamous mutiny. Christian, drawn by the romance and adventure surrounding wooden sailing ships, said she was a descendant of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian.
The complaint alleges that the Bounty was unseaworthy and that its captain — Robin Walbridge — was negligent when he set sail with his crew of 15 as Hurricane Sandy steamed toward the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Walbridge also was lost in the shipwreck and his body was not recovered.
The Bounty took on water in seas reaching 30 feet and winds gusting above 100 mph and sank on Oct. 29. Bounty was rolled, tossing Walbridge and his 15 shipmates into the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina.
Multiple witnesses have testified that the captain chose to sail knowing there was rot infesting key parts of the tall ship.
Click on the links below for Soundings' coverage of the HMS Bounty: