El Faro disappearance – Captain to blame?
At approximately 7:30 a.m. Oct 1, Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list. Vessel was near Crooked Island, Bahamas, en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained. Since then, communications were lost. A full-scale SAR is under way, engaging planes, helicopters, USCG cutter and all ships in the area. The crew consists of 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals.
From the latest statement from ship’s managing company:
As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro. TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and all available resources to establish communication by whatever means possible.
Most probably, there was cargo shift on board caused by heavy pitching and rolling. If no miracle happened, like all communications including ERB destroyed, vessel capsized and either sank, or drift bottom up. In any case, it should be capsizing, nothing else can account for sudden loss of all communications and no distress signals from ERB.
The main cause of the disaster, as of now, considering all available information, seems to be Captain’s decision to ignore hurricane and continue voyage, not seek shelter from passing hurricane.
Oct 3 2015