USCG issues lube warning pertaining to lessons learned from El Faro disaster

The US Coast Guard has issued a Safety Alert urging ship operators to ensure the main propulsion lube oil systems of vessels are in compliance with SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), classification society and regulatory standards after its investigation of the October 2015 El Faro disaster.

The inquiry found that loss of propulsion during extreme weather was a major factor in the disaster, which saw the cargo ship and its 33 crew lost when caught in Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas.

Although the exact operational status of El Faro’s engineering equipment could not be determined, recovered audio from the bridge suggested the ship lost lube oil pressure to the main propulsion turbine and reduction gear bearings.

USCG’s new bulletin says: “It is believed that the vessel’s substantial list, coupled with trim by the bow, caused the main engine lube oil pump to lose suction.”

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.


  1. Strange they need a storm, lost ship and crew to figure that out abt sump tanks.

  2. With a bad weather warning, sumps are topped up sufficiently.
    So seems like poor watchkeeping, have seen many storms….
    Have seen a trend of red eyes with lack of sleep with advent of internet etc.

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