El Faro hearing told there was no safety training for Polish workers on the ship

A Polish electrician who had worked on El Faro in the past, on Wednesday told the hearing into the cargo ship’s sinking that he and his fellow nationals aboard were never formally given safety procedure training.

When El Faro went down off the Bahamas in Hurricane Joaquin on October 1, 2015, there were five Polish nationals among the lost 33-man crew. The other 28 crew members were American.

Marek Pupp, testifying over Skype and through a translator, told the US Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) in Jacksonville, Florida that he was given a tour of the ship but never took part in safety drills or tried on a life jacket or survival suit or took part in a drill.

Nor did he receive instruction on safety procedures, said Pupp, who had worked on the ship with a crew of compatriots in August 2015, less than two months before it sank.

He could not recall whether or not he had seen water-tight doors on El Faro. But he did note that there had been a lot of rust on the ship.

Pupp answered questions from members of the Board and from lawyers for interested parties.

The five Polish nationals lost at sea from El Faro were a team of electricians who were working on the ship to make it ready for a route in Alaskan waters.

The MBI is in its third and final two-week hearing and is scheduled to end on Friday. After that the MBI will compile a report, which will be submitted to the USCG commandant who will then issue determinations and recommendations, which will be made public.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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