Picton Castle captain questions Bounty being at sea during storm
October 29, 2012 - 11:08am By BEVERLEY WARE South Shore Bureau
BRIDGEWATER – The captain of the Picton Castle says he cannot understand why The Bounty was at sea when a massive hurricane was forecast to hit.
Indeed, Dan Moreland postponed leaving Lunenburg more than a week ago precisely because of Hurricane Sandy.
“It was an easy decision to make. It’s black and white, there are no nuances with this. It’s a huge system and that made the decision very simple,” he said.
Moreland said he has known Robin Walbridge , the long-time captain of The Bounty, for years and he is an experienced seaman.
But Moreland said he was shocked Walbridge decided to sail given the forecast.
“Yes, I have to say yes, I can’t say anything else. When I first heard The Bounty was out there I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ ” Moreland said.
He said there was very good information on the storm well in advance.
“I don’t understand this one at all,” Moreland said. “This is a huge system, there is no way of avoiding this, there’s no dodging and weaving around it.”
He said he is sorry two crew members are missing.
Moreland understands the agony of losing a crew member. Laura Gainey, a deckhand aboard Picton Castle, was swept overboard during rough seas in December 2006 and her body was never recovered.
In Feburary 2010, the Lunenburg-based Concordia sank in a storm off the coast of Brazil. All 64 students and staff were rescued after spending 40 hours in life rafts.
Moreland said The Bounty’s crew will be facing horrendous conditions in life rafts right now, and that rescuing them by air is a “very desperate measure,” something he described as “a last possible option.”
At this time, 14 people were being airlifted from the scene and he said conditions would be rough. “They’ll be whopped around and feeling every wave.”
Moreland expects The Bounty’s sinking to rightly come under intense scrutiny.
“When you lose a ship there are some pretty obvious questions out of this. It’s pretty horrible and the big question is, the decision to go.”
Picton Castle captain questions Bounty being at sea during storm | The Chronicle Herald