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USCG announces dates for second El Faro hearing

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has set the dates and place for the second round of the Marine Board of Investigation into the El Faro sinking.

The hearing will be held from May 16-27 in Jacksonville, Florida where the first round of hearings happened in February.

That first round of hearings looked at the vessel’s history of pre-accident events, crew members’ duties and qualifications and the USCG’s search and rescue effort.

This second round, beginning in a fortnight, will consider shipboard operations, cargo loading, plus lashing and stowage operations. It will also look into the vessel’s analysis of stability and the forecast weather conditions as compared to what weather was encountered.

El Faro went down off the Bahamas on October 1 with the loss of all 33 crew members when it was caught in Hurricane Joaquin.

The 790-foot ship, which was delivering cars from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico, lost its propulsive power before disaster struck.

Its wreckage was found 15,000 feet down on the ocean floor in November broken into two main parts with the navigation bridge and the deck below it separated from the rest of the ship.

There will be a third round of hearings in the future and that could include whatever information is gleaned from the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR). Last week the VDR was finally located, more than six months since the sinking

The VDR has yet to be recovered, however. A special mission for its recovery has yet to be finalized. The third round of the inquiry will also consider crew witnesses and testimony from officials of the ship’s owners Tote.

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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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