On May 18, moments after she touched water in her very first launch, 85-foot, $10 million M/V BADEN capsized on her port side and began to sink.
The launch came after more than two years of pain-staking at Northern Marine Industries to build this beautifully appointed expedition style vessel. She was rolled out to the Fidalgo Bay Marina in Anacortes, Washington, christened, and began her short, sad journey into the drink.
At one point during the launch, she seemed to shift in her cradle, but no problem could be found, and the launch proceeded. There were about six people on board at the time, some of whom had gone down below to adjust the ballast at the first signs of instability. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do as she took on water. All who were on board besides one man were rescued fairly quickly, but that one man was trapped below decks until one of the officers took a fire ax to a port hole and pulled him out. No one was seriously injured, although the man who’d been trapped suffered scrapes and bruises from his ordeal, and felt lucky to have been rescued.
As of Tuesday, BÄDEN had been raised in a sling, and water pumps and salvage contractors are working away. There are no reports of pollution, as there was very little fuel on board for the launch. Salt water has ruined the interior, although her builders have expressed hope that the hull may be reworked and that she may yet sail someday.
Why did this happen? There is some speculation, of course, as the investigation continues. Investigations like these can take a while, but they will surely find the reason why, and pass on the lesson learned.