Tags: el faro | captain | errors | blamed | sinking

El Faro Captain Errors Blamed for Sinking That Took 33 Lives

Image: El Faro Captain Errors Blamed for Sinking That Took 33 Lives

Image from video showing stern of sunken ship El Faro. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP, File)

By    |   Monday, 02 October 2017 10:41 AM

The El Faro captain’s errors were blamed in significant ways for the cargo ship's sinking in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, according to a Coast Guard report released on Sunday. The sinking took the lives of 33.

Captain Michael Davidson misjudged the path of Hurricane Joaquin packing winds of 150 miles per hour and did not comprehend the seriousness of the situation until it was too late, said Capt. Jason Neubauer, chairman of the investigating Coast Guard panel said, the Florida Times-Union reported.

The hurricane sank the El Faro Oct. 1, 2015, after intensifying into a Category 4 hurricane, The Weather Channel said, and never reached the U.S. mainland before turning east after passing by Bermuda.

"(Davidson) was ultimately responsible for the vessel, the crew and its safe navigation," Neubauer told reporters, according to WJXT-TV. "(Davidson) misjudged the path of Hurricane Joaquin and overestimated the vessel's heavy weather survivability while also failing to take adequate precautions to monitor and prepare for heavy weather.”

"During critical periods of navigation ... he failed to understand the severity of the situation, even when the watch standards warned him the hurricane was intensifying," Neubauer said.

Sunday's report made 35 administrative or regulatory recommendations that might help prevent future disasters or increase chances of crews surviving, the Times-Union said.

The recommended steps include requiring personal locator beacons on shipboard flotation devices, collecting DNA samples to identify remains, and auditing of work by nongovernment groups like the American Bureau of Shipping that the Coast Guard contracts for some ship inspections.

The Marine Board of Investigation suggested that the ship's operator, TOTE Maritime Inc., should be fined for a series of infractions involving violating shipboard rules about work and rest periods; not following emergency procedure rules; and not telling the Coast Guard about repair work done involving El Faro’s boiler and lifeboats, the Times-Union reported.

Neubauer said the fines could total $80,000, the Times-Union.

WJXT-TV said the loss still feels very real for family members.

"If anyone was to ever go through this, they have to be very spiritual and believe in God, and that's the only thing I can really say, because this is what got me through the whole process -- prayer, and that changed everything," Marlena Porter, the wife of James Porter Jr., told the television station.

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The El Faro captain’s errors were blamed in significant ways for the cargo ship's sinking in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, according to a Coast Guard report released on Sunday. The sinking took the lives of 33.
el faro, captain, errors, blamed, sinking
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2017-41-02
Monday, 02 October 2017 10:41 AM
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