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Old 06-30-2013
opusnz opusnz is offline
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

>>>>>Rouge wave or hull failure.
otherwise one of the seven would have activated.
went down in seconds.


Most likely but also possibly a collision....freighters hit things but sometimes don't stop as a family in 1995 found out.

From the LA Times..

Collision With Freighter Sank Family's Yacht

Coast Guard: Report holds South Korean ship responsible for accident killing Santa Clarita residents.

April 27, 1996|ALAN ABRAHAMSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER


In a report filled with vivid details of disaster on the high seas, the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday that a South Korean freighter was responsible for ramming and sinking a Santa Clarita family's yacht last fall in the South Pacific, killing two children and their father.

Concluding an investigation that also involved maritime safety experts in New Zealand and South Korean police, the Coast Guard said the 27,000-ton log carrying ship was the "proximate cause" of the sinking of the 47-foot Melinda Lee on Nov. 24 off New Zealand's North Island.


In stormy seas and in the middle of the night, the Coast Guard said in a report obtained by The Times, the Pan Grace apparently failed to detect the Melinda Lee on radar. Nevertheless, just before impact, crewmen aboard the massive freighter saw a red light off its starboard bow--a sign that another vessel was nearby.

But, the Coast Guard said, the freighter's officer of the watch failed to slow down and turn away from the Melinda Lee--steps he should have taken immediately under internationally recognized "rules of the road" at sea.

Killed were Michael Sleavin, 42, and his children Benjamin, 9, and Anna, 7. Judith Ann Sleavin, 41, the sole survivor, washed ashore after clinging to a dinghy for 42 hours. The family was en route from Tonga to New Zealand, one leg of an around-the-world sailing adventure.

Relatives of the family declined to comment Friday.

Investigators in South Korea, New Zealand and the U.S. have long suspected the Pan Grace in the accident.

Earlier this month, in fact, South Korean police said the freighter was at fault after finding that streaks of blue paint visible on the freighter's orange hull matched the blue paint on the yacht's fiberglass hull. They added, according to an Associated Press dispatch, that the watch officer that night--Second Mate Han Sang-Yoon, 26--faced possible criminal charges.

The Coast Guard report, however, provides the most complete record yet of the accident. It is based on photos, log books and weather reports as well as the results of inquires by New Zealand and South Korean investigators.

It also sets forth new details of the crash:

On a rainy night, the 14-ton Melinda Lee was plowing along under sail--its engine turned off--at 5 or 6 knots, bound for New Zealand's Bay of Islands.

The yacht was equipped with a three-color light on its mast, 50 to 60 feet above the water line. Another vessel nearing the Melinda Lee would see a red light if it were off the yacht's port--or left--side. The green light would show if the other vessel were to the starboard--or right--side. Both lights could be seen if approaching head-on. A white light would be visible only from behind the yacht.

Judith Sleavin had taken the watch, beginning at 1 a.m.; the others were sleeping. She had tuned her radio to Channel 16, an all-purpose marine frequency. The rudder was under the control of an automatic steering device.

Apparently because of the heavy weather, the Sleavins were not maintaining a lookout--which the Coast Guard recommends at all times but especially during a storm.

The Pan Grace--en route from Tauranga, New Zealand, to Inchon, South Korea--had a lookout on the bridge, the Coast Guard said. Under international rules, according to the Coast Guard, a proper lookout in heavy weather and traffic would include a crewman farther forward.