Former El Faro seafarers hit out at ship’s structural problems

Three former crew members of El Faro, a US-flagged ship that authorities believe sank off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, told TV news channel CNN the ship had structural problems.

The 40-year-old container ship was en route to Puerto Rico from Jacksonville when the engine broke down and the vessel started taking in water as the hurricane with winds in excess of 200 kmh approached.

The seafarers interviewed have all been on the Tote Maritime owned ship at some point this year.

“The chief cook’s room was constantly leaking water,” Kurt Bruer, a quartermaster who spent six months on El Faro, said. He also said that the drainage did not work well either.

“The El Faro was a well-maintained vessel, classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and regularly inspected by that classification society and the (U.S. Coast Guard),” Tote said, when emailed by CNN.

US President Barack Obama issued a statement about the El Faro yesterday in which he said: “The investigation now underway will have the full support of the U.S. government, because the grieving families of the El Faro deserve answers and because we have to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our people, including those who work at sea.”

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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