Coast Guard to Release El Faro Sinking Report

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)

WASHINGTON – The Coast Guard will release the Marine Board of Investigation report of the sinking of the El Faro on Sunday.

The report identifies casual factors into the loss of the vessel and its 33 crewmembers, including Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduates Keith Griffin and Jeffrey Mathias.

The cargo ship sank Oct. 1, 2015, after losing propulsion in Hurricane Joaquin.

The report also proposes safety recommendations for future actions.

“The most important thing to remember is that 33 people lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Capt. Jason Neubauer, chairman, El Faro Marine Board of Investigation, U.S. Coast Guard. “If adopted, we believe the safety recommendations in our report will improve safety of life at sea.”

Earlier this year, a 60 Minutes report raised 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.

The report to be released Sunday may be accessed here.

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