Seventeen people from the replica HMS Bounty abandoned ship while stranded at sea off North Carolina in the path of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday.
"The 17-person crew donned cold water survival suits and lifejackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The tall ship was built for the 1962 movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" and lost power while at sea on Sunday night.
The Bounty was about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina, or roughly 160 miles from the center of Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane bearing down on the U.S. East Coast, the Coast Guard said.
The three-masted, 180-foot (55-metre) vessel was believed to be taking on water and was without propulsion, stuck in 40 mile-per-hour winds and 18-foot (5.5-metre) seas, the Coast Guard said.
An HC-130 Hercules aircraft had been in contact with the crew while flying overhead, and the Coast Guard was determining which rescue vessel or aircraft was best placed to respond, Petty Officer David Weydert said.
"The crew is safe and accounted for. They have abandoned ship," said a posting on the ship's Facebook page. "They are in their sea survival suits and in a life boat."
The original Bounty, a British transport vessel, gained infamy for a mutiny in Tahiti in 1789.
The 1962 movie starred Marlon Brando as lead mutineer Fletcher Christian. The replica Bounty has appeared in numerous documentaries and feature films including "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" with Johnny Depp, according to the ship's website.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York; Editing by Eric Beech)