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post #1611 of Old 02-14-2013
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
Rotted Frames on Bounty | gCaptain - Maritime & Offshore News

Rotted Frames on Bounty

The witness, Todd Kosakowski, looked at Coast Guard’s evidence # CG-41: a series of 29 photographs he had taken of Bounty during its most recent yard period. Mr. Kosakowski – the lead shipwright and project manager for Boothbay Harbor Shipyards - was in charge of the last maintenance project ever to be done on Bounty.

The pictures were of rotted frames and fasteners (trunnels) he found under the planking during repairs. Kosakowski told NTSB investigator Captain Rob Jones that he believes 75% of the framing above the waterline on Bounty may have been rotten, but that the ship’s representative in the yard, Captain Robin Walbridge, declined any further search for rotted wood. He convinced Kosakowski that they would make the repairs before their next Coast Guard hull inspection. The final witness of the day and the discussions of the evidence was stunning to those of us in the crowd.

He had given the photos to the USCG Investigator back in December. That same Coast Guard investigator – Commander Kevin Carroll – was on the other side of the table today, asking questions.

Carroll: “And you had a conversation…did you tell Captain Walbridge?”

Kosakowski: ”Yes.”

Carrol: ”What did he say?”

Kosakowski: “He was also concerned. I told him I thought that he had to pick and choose his weather… he said that he was terrified of what we had found.”

Kosakowski said that he didn’t voice his concerns to anyone other than Captain Walbridge of Bounty and his own boss, Eric Graves, telling Carroll, “I believe that the owner’s rep is the extent of my debt to notify.”

Looking around to see if anyone else looked as dismayed as I felt, I didn’t have to look hard. What we were hearing from Kosakowski came at the end of a long day of testimony that painted a picture of maintenance and management of Bounty that was suspect at best.

Todd Kosakowski with Chief Mate John Svendsen after the second day of testimony into the sinking of Bounty. (Photo M. Vittone)

Morning testimony by Miss Tracey Simonin – the HMS Bounty Organization’s “Director of Shoreside Operations” revealed confusion about the ship’s status as it related to tonnage certificates and maintenance management, ABS and USCG notification of repairs, and who may or may not be in charge of repair work aboard Bounty.

In July of 2011, at the urging of USCG Activities Europe and MCA, Simonin walked through a new Tonnage Certificate issued by ABS that set Bounty’s gross tonnage at 409. During a visit, MCA inspectors noticed a change to the ship’s construction – specifically the removal of a tonnage opening – that was not reported to ABS. The new assessment made the Bounty subject to SOLAS, and the HMS Bounty Organization appealed. A year later they changed the vessel back to its previous configuration and received a new tonnage certificate that brought them back down to 266 regulatory tons, but it would seem that for a year Bounty operated in violation of IMO regulations. Like so much of what I’ve seen so far in these hearings, there are more questions than answers; Simonin answered “I don’t know,” and “I don’t remember,” frequently.

In Simonin’s defense, there was someone in the room better suited to answer the Commander’s questions today, but Mr. Robert Hansen (seated in the front row) is asserting his fifth amendment rights and will not be testifying. Simonin did clear up a couple of things. We learned that the person who posted on Bounty’s Facebook page was Jim Salapatek. He – not the captain – was the one who posted that the voyage into the hurricane was a safe decision, that the Coast Guard had issued a UMIB (Urgent Marine Information Broadcast) for Bounty on October 28th but had rescinded it (they hadn’t), and he did all of that from his home in Illinois. His connection to Bounty? His son, Drew (29) was crew aboard Bounty. How did he get his information? “I don’t know,” said Simonin.

There was a break from strained testimony and nervous answers when Mr. Bert Rogers, the executive director of Tall Ships America, was called as a witness. “Bounty was the star of the show at our events because of her star appeal and we featured her as a headliner vessel at our events,” Rogers said. When asked about Walbridge’s competence, Rogers spoke well of the captain and his efforts over the past 17 years to “turn Bounty around.” He said complimentary things about Bounty’s crew and the ship’s relationship and value to his organization.

It was 20 minutes of good news about the ship and her performance from a respected and experienced leader in the tall ship community. And then Rogers – the first experienced tall-ship captain to take the stand – was asked by Carroll, “Would you have taken her out into that storm?” ”No, I would have sought safer harbor upriver.” No one was surprised.

Carroll: “Do you think the ship was safer at sea?”

Rogers: “I don’t believe that a ship is safer at sea. It is circumstantial. There are cases where that is the example and cases where it is not.”

Carroll: “Is the crew safer at sea?”

Rogers: “That is absurd; they are of course safer in bed than at sea. But if you have to decide between crew safety and ship safety you would have to go to the crew.”

Rogers left before he could hear Kosakowski recount the condition of Bounty and the rotted frames. He didn’t hear about the Walbridge’s decision to wait until the next yard period to get into extensive repairs. He didn’t hear about the shipwright’s warning to keep the boat out of heavy weather. If he had, I wonder what he would have thought about those “circumstances?”

The last to question Rogers was the attorney for the Christian family, Mr. Jacob Shisha. The body of the Christian’s daughter, Claudine (42), was recovered by the Coast Guard on October 29th.

Shisha: “In late October – how many member vessels did you have on the Atlantic Coast?”

Rogers: “About fifty.”

Shisha: “How many made a decision to leave port in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy?”

Rogers: “None that I know of…besides Bounty.”
Take the article posted above with a grain of salt. Thats not to say the the testimony wasnt riviting and that it wasnt an example of the Bounty maintainence. The problem with the news media is just that the news media. The post for sensationalism

An example: Posted by Jon Eisenberg
The first time I weighed in about the Bounty sinking I said that if “I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s that speculation rarely lines up with facts.” It turns out that facts rarely line up with facts, either. My own local paper – The Virginian Pilot – reported that Svendsen stated that he “twice urged Walbridge to abandon ship before Walbridge agreed,” and later in the same article report that “Svendsen twice told Walbridge they should abandon ship before Walbridge agreed. The boat rolled before an orderly evacuation could happen, spilling crew members into the ocean.” The Pilot left out that the time between his first urging and Walbridge’s agreement was two minutes. Sincerely – there was a time for an “orderly evacuation,” and it was long before Svendsen first urged his captain.
I watched the live video feed for almost all of Kosakowskis testimony. Watched his face, voice inflections, etc, Curiously the reporter left out a few other questions of this man which went to his motives and potential covering of his ass thus challanging his testimony. Heres what the reporter left out. The shipwright Kosakowski was the project leader for the shipyard affecting the repairs. He stated he had 30 conversations with the Captain about the repairs and what he found. He continued to affect repairs of the areas he was repairing and mentioned 2 times to Walbridge that the vessel MAY have damage in other areas that he wanted to explore further.. He testified also he took a moisture metter in these areas and the results we negative for moisture. He also stated that he needed to remove the planking to be sure. he stated that he reported his finding only to his boss. The first time he was asked by the CG was anyone there to verify he told the Captain that he should take it out in heavy weather until this was checked. He said no. When he admitted he had talked 30 times to Waldbridge he was asked again incredulously by the CG Commander that not one of the times was anyone there. He back tracked and said there were and there were two occasions. He further remembered there were 5 people present both times. To me ( Rockdawg is also watching the video feed too that I know of) this mans testimony was a bit self serving and ass covering for further legal actions by the Bounty Company.

It is apparent to me so far and I want to reserve judgement until I hear everything, that one of the main problems with this vessels was the funds to repair her completely in one shot. The repair work which was done by the shipwrights appeared to be first class where they worked on her. Funding for these vessels to continue their upkeep are a continual problem.

Caveat- I am not speaking to the ssue of his leaving in a hurricane, but just to what we have heard so far.

If you have a moment try and spend some time on the live feed.

HMS Bounty hearings

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