El Faro sank 10 minutes after captain had called to abandon ship

El Faro sank 10 minutes after captain had called to abandon ship

The US’s National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has revealed the harrowing, scary lead up to the sinking of the El Faro, via 26 hours of information gleaned from the ill-fated Tote ship’s voyage data recorder (VDR).

The VDR was retrieved from the Atlantic floor off the Bahamas this month. The 40-year-old ship sank on October 1 last year, smashed by a passing hurricane.

The recordings include the moment the ship started taking on water, then lost power and started to list. The VDR also shows the communication between the ship’s captain and the US Coast Guard and the captain’s eventual decision to abandon ship during incredibly tempestuous conditions. All 33 crewmembers onboard subsequently lost their lives. The last signal recorded by the VDR took place 10 minutes after the master had announced the time had come to abandon ship.

The ship’s owner has been negotiating with the families of the crewmembers over compensation, with many accepting damages in the region of $500,000.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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  1. Avatar
    August 25, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I told you so he was pretty calm those on that last call. He wait until it was too then called with his fake oh I am so stressed.
    he is a psycho captain that kill all his crew.

  2. Avatar
    August 30, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Unbelievable you consider this a serious comment. You sir are everything that is wrong with the Internet. I’m so tired of clueless and uneducated people making statements about situations they have no knowledge of or experience with. Do the world a favor and keep your mouth shut. Maybe do more of a favor by getting fixed and save us all from your offspring that will inevitably be worse than you.