The widow of one of the men who perished on the US cargo ship El Faro is using the tragedy to try and push through a law change.
Frank Hamm and 32 of his fellow crewmembers died when the 1975-built ship sank off the Bahamas on October 1, 2015 during Hurricane Joaquin.
His wife Rochelle, mother of five, launched a petition last year to get Congress to change legislation whereby ships would not be allowed to leave port in the event of bad weather being noted on the vessel’s intended route. The legislation, which she has named the Hamm Alert, also calls for changes in the maritime industry in the form of more oversight and regulation. Among the demands are for all US commercial vessels to have enclosed lifeboats equipped with survival supplies, as well as modifying the standards for commercial vessels’ life cycle and creating tougher standards for commissioning vessels after rebuilds or revisions. The petition can be accessed here.
More than 11,000 people have signed the petition and Hamm has also been meeting politicians and the authorities to get the law passed.
“This tragedy could have been prevented with more oversight of shipping companies, similar to air traffic controllers for planes, to stop companies from sending ships into dangerous weather,” she told the Associated Press in an interview this week.