Washington, Oct 30 (IANS) HMS Bounty, a replica of the famous British vessel built for the 1962 film version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" and which also appeared in the 2006 blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", sank when a superstorm barrelled into the US.
Three people washed off the ship and were engulfed by Atlantic waters, in spate due to Hurricane Sandy, the US Coast Guard said. But only one of them made it to safety.
The HMS Bounty's crew members realized their lives were in danger off the North Carolina coast and they reached out to two waiting life rafts.
But only 13 of the 16 people aboard got off the ship safely, initially, and only one of the three washed overboard made it into a raft, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Parker told CNN.
The ship, built for the 1962 film version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando, was once owned by CNN founder Ted Turner, who acquired it in 1986 along with the rights to the MGM film library.
The 180-ft three-masted ship was a replica of the famous British vessel and it floundered about 90 miles off North Carolina as Sandy's fury churned the Atlantic into 18-foot seas, its owner, Bob Hansen, told CNN affiliate KUSA.
Hansen said it was heading away from the hurricane when the ship began taking on water.
"At that time it wasn't considered an emergency, even though they had several feet of water inside the boat," Hansen was quoted as saying.
"She's a very large ship, and that little bit of water really does not do anything to her. But somehow we lost power in our generator and in our main engines, and as a result, we could not pump any water out of the boat."
Waves battered the ship and "it just got to the point where she couldn't stay afloat anymore".
The original Bounty had an intriguing history.
The British Admiralty purchased a coal carrying merchant ship operating on the coast of England, named Bethia, renamed her Bounty, and re-commissioned her in 1787 for a special mission. Bounty was to sail halfway around the world to the tiny island of Tahiti, collecting sapling breadfruit trees and transport them to the West Indies.
To lead the mission, the Admiralty picked 33-year-old Lt. William Bligh, who had been the sailing master on HMS Resolution on Capt. Cook's last voyage of discovery. Though portrayed as an abusive tyrant by Hollywood, Bligh may be one of the greatest seamen who ever lived, reported tallshipbounty.org.
Three weeks out of Tahiti, enroute to the West Indies with the breadfruit plants, Master's Mate (Acting Lieutenant) Fletcher Christian, angered and humiliated over the continual abuse from Capt. Bligh took the ship.