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.”