Plenty of blame to go around for sinking of El Faro

The final report about the deadly El Faro tragedy will be released Sunday.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (NEWS CENTER) - The U.S. Coast Guard Board of Marine Investigation cites several factors in the sinking of the El faro.

The captain, the ship’s owner TOTE and the U.S. Coast Guard, are all targeted for blame in the report.

Among the findings, a lack of proper training for the crew, inaccurate weather information, the captain of the ship failed to change course, a lack of support for the crew from the ship’s owner, fatigue among crew members, and a lack of oversight of the ship’s inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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The loss of the U.S. flagged cargo vessel EL FARO ranks as one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history, and resulted in the highest death toll from a U.S. commercial vessel sinking in almost 40 years.

All 33 people on board the El Faro cargo ship died when the ship sank two years ago. Four were from Maine, Captain Michael Davidson, Michael Holland, Dylan Meklin, and Danielle Randolph.

In the 199 page Marine Board of Investigation Report of Investigation released today investigators determined the following.

TOTE did not ensure the safety of marine operations and failed to provide shore side nautical operations supports to its vessels.

TOTE and the Master did not adequately identify the risk of heavy weather when preparing, evaluating, and approving the voyage plan prior to departure on the accident voyage.

The Master of EL FARO, Captain Michael Davidson, failed to carry out his responsibilities and duties as Captain by not changing course.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) created and distributed tropical weather Forecasts which in later analysis proved to be inaccurate.

The crew’s complacency, lack of training and procedures, and EL FARO’s design contributed to the crew’s failure to assess whether the vessel’s watertight integrity was compromised.

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A lack of effective training and drills by crew members, and inadequate oversight by TOTE, Coast Guard and ABS, resulted in the crew and riding crew members being unprepared to undertake the proper actions required for surviving in an abandon ship scenario.

The cumulative effects of anxiety, fatigue, and vessel motion from heavy weather degraded the crew’s decision making and physical performance of duties during the accident voyage.

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 A lack of effective training and drills by crew members, and inadequate oversight by TOTE, Coast Guard and ABS, resulted in the crew and riding crew members being unprepared to undertake the proper actions required for surviving in an abandon ship scenario.

The board is suggesting 31 recommendations to improve safety as a result of the incident. Investigators recommend four civil penalties be levied against the ship’s owner TOTE. 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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