PORTSMOUTH, Va., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Witnesses at a hearing on the Bounty, a replica of the famous British vessel, have suggested it was unseaworthy when it sank off the coast of North Carolina.
The wooden vessel went down during Hurricane Sandy in October. A member of the crew was killed and the captain, Robin Walbridge, has never been found.
Joe Jackomovicz, the manager of the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, told a Coast Guard hearing Thursday he found decaying wood in the Bounty in September, The (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Chronicle Herald reported. Jackomovicz, testifying by telephone on the third day of the hearing in Portsmouth, Va., said both he and Walbridge were surprised by the extent of the rot.
"It was our feeling, though, it wasn't a serious matter at the moment, but let go a period of time it could be a serious matter," he said.
Todd Kosakowski, a project manager at the shipyard who testified Wednesday, said he told Walbridge he was "more than worried" by the rot discovered in the Bounty's frame when two planks were replaced, The Virginian-Pilot reported. When Walbridge said he would have something done the next time the Bounty was hauled out, he advised him to "pick and choose his weather."
Jackomovicz, who was involved in several overhauls of the Bounty, said its wood seemed to deteriorate quickly because of the hot humid weather in the Caribbean, where the vessel spent much of its time.