The non-profit maritime heritage organization Tall Ships America, of which the HMS Bounty was a member, released a statement on Tuesday expressing its condolences to those effected by yesterday’s tragedy and asked for the public’s cooperation in allowing a full investigation prior to placing blame.
Since the vessel sank yesterday during Hurricane Sandy, and even prior, many have questioned why and even ridiculed the captain for putting his crew in harms way and wondered if there was perhaps some kind pressure from the ship’s owner.
Tall Ships America, however, says that the best thing the public can do now is offer support to survivors and victims, thank Coast Guard crews for their heroic rescue, and wait for a full investigation.
Here’s their statement below:
The tall ship HMS BOUNTY was lost yesterday in Hurricane Sandy off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Of the 16 persons reportedly aboard at the time, we understand that one individual has perished, and that 14 others were rescued, thanks to the exemplary courage and skill of Coast Guard search and rescue personnel. It appears that the vessel’s master, Robin Walbridge, is missing, and the search continues.
A member of Tall Ships America, HMS BOUNTY was a popular participant in public maritime festivals around North America. Our membership is united in sending our thoughts, prayers and best wishes to the crew and their families, to the family of the crewmember who was lost, and to the brave Coast Guard team who sustain our hopes for Captain Walbridge’s speedy rescue.
There is currently much speculation about the loss of the vessel. We believe that further speculation is not helpful at this time, especially in view of the respect that is due to the individuals whose lives are directly affected by these tragic events. Tall Ships America does not have any factual information to add but notes that there will surely be an official inquiry that will assemble much more complete information than is available to anyone now. We are confident that our membership, if called upon, will cooperate with that inquiry in the full spirit of professionalism upon which the sail training movement depends.
For now, we appeal to the public to lend their thoughts and support to the crew and shore team of HMS BOUNTY and their families, to join us in thanking the Coast Guard rescue team for their heroism on behalf of our colleagues, and to sustain hopes for Captain Walbridge’s safe return.
Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by Congress as the Sail Training organization representing the United States. www.tallshipsamerica.org