The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has taken over the investigation of the May 18 sinking of the 90-foot expedition yacht upon its launch at Northern Marine in Anacortes, Washington.
The U.S. Coast Guard completed an initial investigation into the incident before handing the matter over to the NTSB, according to both agencies. The NTSB investigation is expected to take several months.
The NTSB is involved because the incident is considered a major marine casualty, which are incidents with estimated damage of more than $500,000. At the time of the launch, the yacht was listed for sale on the brokerage market for $9.2 million.
Northern Marine released a statement after the sinking. It reads, in part: “Since the accident, the project naval architect/professional engineer has confirmed that the yacht, as designed, had adequate stability with the amount of ballast aboard at the time of launch, provided that ‘severe heeling moments’ were not induced during the launch.
“Unfortunately, it appears that just such a severe heeling moment did occur during the launch. While investigations as to the cause of the capsizing are continuing, the physical evidence on, and adjacent to, the launch ramp suggests that the dolly carrying the weight of the port stern of the yacht may have suddenly dropped off the edge of the boat ramp during the launch, causing the vessel to experience a sudden list to port from which it could not recover in its light condition for launch.”