NTSB releases its full report on El Faro tragedy

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Wednesday released its full final report on the October 1, 2015 sinking of cargo vessel El Faro with the loss of its entire 33-person crew.

This release follows a December meeting of the NTSB to determine the cause of the accident wherein the ship was caught in Hurricane Joaquin and went down off the Bahamas. That meeting was accompanied by a release of key findings.

Wednesday’s release gives more detail on the investigation, all 81 findings and 53 safety recommendations based on the case.

US-flagged, Tote Maritime-owned El Faro was en route from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when disaster struck.

As in the December findings this reiterates the failings of ship captain Michael Davidson and vessel owners Tote

In its executive summary the NTSB says: “The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of El Faro and the subsequent loss of life was the captain’s insufficient action to avoid Hurricane Joaquin, his failure to use the most current weather information, and his late decision to muster the crew.”

It also identified contributory factors such as the company’s safety management system being inadequate, lack of a damage control plan and lack of appropriate survival craft.

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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