In 1983, the freighter Marine Electric ran into a violent storm off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Despite Force 10 conditions and fifty feet waves the crew were unconcerned: the ship had survived worse. But something was wrong, the ship was beginning to break up under them; gradually it began to go down by the head, then to capsize. Within two hours the crew were in the water in a desperate struggle for their lives. Their plight sparked one of the most dramatic air-sea rescues in maritime history. Only three of the 34 crew survived the night. The ship had sunk due to a serious structural defect. The chief mate Bob Cusick discovered that the owners had lost several other ships in similar circumstances to the Marine Electric, but the sinkings had been covered up. He decided to go after the company and they in turn rounded on him, the sole surviving officer. What follows is an epic and epochal court case that left none of the participants unscarred.