About 0315 local time on January 18, 2013, the oceanographic research vessel
Seaprobe sank in the Gulf of Mexico, about 130 nautical miles
south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama. Before the vessel sank, all 12crewmembers
evacuated to inflatable liferafts from which the United States Coast Guard
rescued them shortly thereafter. Three crewmembers were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause
of the flooding and subsequent sinking of the Seaprobe was the decision of the
vessel owner to delay making permanent repairs to the starboard-side exhaust
trunk and covering six of the vessel's freeing ports, leaving the Seaprobe
susceptible to downflooding from boarding seas. Contributing to the accident was
the owner's failure to comply with the vessel's safety management system and
mandatory load line regulations.