(CN) - The mother of a crew member of the HMS Bounty, which capsized off North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy, sued the ship's owner for $90 million, for the drowning death of her daughter.
The Bounty is not the original ship, but a replica built in 1960 for a movie starring Marlon Brando.
The late Claudene Martilla Christian was one of 16 crew members aboard the Bounty when 25-foot waves capsized it before dawn on Oct. 29, 2012.
Her mother, also named Claudene Christian, claims the vessel had undergone slipshod repairs in dry dock, and that the Bounty's owner and captain knew it was unseaworthy when it left New London, Conn., for a fund raiser in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"(T)he combination of Bounty going to meet 'Frankenstorm Sandy' was the greatest mismatch between a 'vessel' and a peril of the sea that would ever occur or could ever be imagined," the mother says in the complaint in Central Islip, N.Y., Federal Court.
The Bounty, built from drawings of the original Bounty still on file in the British admiralty, was a 108-foot long wooden replica of the tall ship made famous by the mutiny of 1789 in the South Pacific.
Since the release of the movie in 1962, the ship was featured in scores of other TV shows, movies and documentaries, and eventually found its way to a berth in St. Petersburg, where it became a tourist attraction.
There it remained until 1986, when billionaire Ted Turner acquired the MGM film library and the Bounty along with it. The ship was used again in "Treasure Island," a 1989 movie starring Charlton Heston.
Turner then donated the ship to a foundation, to operate it as an educational venture.
In February 2001, the Bounty, by then "in dire need for repairs," was purchased by the defendant HMS Bounty Organization, an entity consisting of co-defendant Robert E. Hansen, who acted as the Bounty's owner and manager, and a single employee, nonparty Tracie Simonin, who performed administrative duties, according to the complaint.
The other constant at the organization was nonparty Robin Walbridge, who was hired to captain the ship shortly after its purchase.
Christian claims the Coast Guard repeatedly inspected and certified the HMS Bounty over the years, documenting it as a "moored attraction vessel."
She claims: "The USCG considered Bounty safe for public use in one instance alone, when she was securely moored to a pier."
She claims the ship was never certified as safe to carry passengers for hire of any description, including harbor day sales. In fact, she claims, the ship spent a good deal of its time dry docked for repairs, most recently between Sept. 17 and Oct. 20, 2012.
During the course of the 2012 dry docking, Christian claims, workmen discovered "extensive deterioration and rotting of frames and planking on both sides of the vessel and also in a portion of the vessel's stern."
"In such circumstances, proper shipyard repair procedures and common sense dictate that additional steps be taken, including bit not limited to, removal of additional planking and testing to determine the full extent of the deterioration, to allow a proper repair plan to insure the vessel's seaworthiness," the complaint states.