New Report on El Faro Raises Questions About Captain’s Decisions

This undated image made from a video and released Tuesday, April 26, 2016, by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the stern of the sunken ship El Faro. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

JACKSONVILLE, FL – New information has come to light on the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro during Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, an incident that claimed the lives of 33 crew members, including two graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

A 60 Minutes report on Sunday raises questions about the actions of the El Faro’s captain, Michael Davidson, who was apparently sleeping until 3 hours before the ship went down.

According to recordings from the El Faro’s bridge recovered by the National Transportation Safety Board, two lower officers recommended a different route as the storm was intensifying, but Capt. Davidson declined.

11 hours before the ship sank, Davidson went below bridge to his quarters. He did not return until 8 hours later.

Davidson had previously stated that he thought the vessel could outrun the storm. “We’ll be passing clear on the backside of it,” Davidson was heard saying in the bridge recordings. “It should be fine…not should be, we’re going to be fine.”

The vessel’s engines failed in the middle of the hurricane off the Bahamas. The El Faro was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduates Keith Griffin and Jeffrey Mathias were among those killed.

No bodies have been recovered.

The NTSB expects to release their final report and conclusions on the El Faro’s sinking later this year.

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