Final damning report on El Faro sinking issued

Two years to the day since the 40-year-old El Faro sank during a hurricane near the Bahamas, the US Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation has issued its final report on the disaster, which saw 33 seafarers lose their lives.

The 199-page report lays much of the blame on the ship’s captain, although others, notably class society ABS and El Faro’s owner, Tote, have also came in for significant criticism.

The in depth report makes suggestions for 31 safety improvements for the US commercial fleet, including improving hurricane warnings and eliminating all open lifeboats. Had the 1975-built ship carried more up to date liferafts then its crew might have had a chance of survival, the investigators believe.

The ship’s captain, Michael Davidson “failed to act on reports from the third mate and second mate regarding the increased severity and narrowing of the closest point of approach to Hurricane Joaquin, and the suggested course changes to the south to increase their distance from the hurricane,” the coast guard maintained.

To access the full El Faro report, click here.

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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