HMS Bounty, also known as HM Armed Vessel
Bounty, was a merchant vessel purchased by the Royal
Navy for a botanical mission. The ship, under the
command of William Bligh, was sent to the Pacific Ocean
to acquire breadfruit plants and transport them to
British possessions in the West Indies. That
mission was never completed, due to a mutiny led by the
acting Master, Fletcher Christian. This was the
famous Mutiny on the Bounty.
HMS Bounty was
constructed in Nova Scotia for the 1962 film
Mutiny on the Bounty. Until 2012, she was
owned by not-for-profit organizations whose primary
aim was to sail her and other square rigged sailing
ships, and she sailed the world to appear at
harbors. On October 29, 2012, sixteen Bounty
crew-members abandoned ship off the coast of North
Carolina in Hurricane Sandy. The ship sank at
12:45 UTC Monday October 29, 2012, and two crew
members, including Captain Robin Walbridge were
missing. The Captain was not found and
presumed dead. The body of other missing crew
members was recovered later. Her name
was Claudene Christian and she was the
great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of
Fletcher Christian, the leader fo the mutiny on the
original HMS Bounty.
replica, named HMAV Bounty, was built in New Zealand
in 1979 and used in the 1984 film The Bounty.
For many years she served the tourist excursion
market from Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia,
before being sold to HKR International Limited in
October 2007. She became a tourist attraction
in Discovery Bay, on Lantau Island in Hong Kong.
October 2012, the replica HMS Bounty left New London,
Connecticut, heading for St. Petersburg, Florida,
initially going on an easterly course to avoid Hurricane
Sandy. On 29 October 2012 at 03:54 EDT, the ship's owner
called the United States Coast Guard for help during the
hurricane after she lost contact with the ship's master.
There were sixteen people aboard. Fourteen people had
been rescued from liferafts by two rescue helicopters.
The storm had washed the captain and two crew
overboard—one of the latter had made it to a liferaft,
but the other two were missing. They wore orange
survival suits complete with strobe lights, thereby
giving rescuers some hope of finding them alive.
Claudene Christian, one of the two missing crew members
and who claimed to be a descendant of HMS Bounty
mutineer Fletcher Christian, was found dead by the Coast
Guard. She was unresponsive, and rushed to a hospital
where she was pronounced dead.
The other missing crew member was long-time captain
Robin Walbridge. Raised in Montpelier, Vermont,
Walbridge later moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. He was
a field mechanic on houseboats who worked his way up to
obtaining a 1600 ton license in 1995, when he began
working as a Bounty crew member. Search efforts
for Walbridge continued over an area of 12,000 square
nautical miles until they were suspended on 1 November