Why Did Cargo Ship El Faro Sink?
Update to Cargo Ship El Faro Sinking
The search for the missing crew members on board the cargo ship El Faro has been suspended as of Wednesday, October 7. However, the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard are still searching for the sunken cargo ship and its voyage data recorder, which could bring to light other possible issues as to why cargo ship El Faro lost power and stalled in the path of Hurricane Joaquin.
Questions about whether the captain of El Faro was under pressure to deliver cargo despite the tropical storm threat that quickly strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, if the age of the cargo ship (more than 40 years old and under preparations for a new route and maintenance work) or possible engine room mechanical troubles played factors in El Faro sinking have been raised. If the voyage data recorder for El Faro is found, hopefully it can help authorities answer these and other important questions about this cargo ship tragedy that can help prevent future ship sinkings. Our maritime attorneys we keep you posted with the latest updates into the cargo ship investigation.
Cargo Ship El Faro Goes Missing During Hurricane Joaquin
Recently, cargo ship El Faro went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, off the coast of the Bahamas, and as of last week, a search was on to recover the vessel and its crew members.
According to various reports, airborne rescue workers were able to spot several survival suits along with other debris floating from the MV El Faro. The cargo ship reportedly had 33 crew members working aboard and it is believed to have sunk. Most of the survival suits spotted by rescuers were empty, but one allegedly did have the body of a deceased person.
The U.S. Coast Guard is leading the effort to locate the sunken cargo ship, with its owners reporting that it had lifeboats and rafts for all of the crew members. One of the missing workers is a 2005 Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduate, Keith Griffin, from Winthrop. Tragically, according to WCVB-TV, his wife is pregnant with twins. She reportedly received an email from him prior to the ship going missing, saying that he did not expect to get a lot of sleep due to stormy weather. Other crew members are from Maine to Florida. A partial list of crew on board the vessel El Faro is Capt. Michael Davidson, Steven Shultz, Jeremy Riehm, Mariette Wright, Mike Holland, Danielle Randolph, Shaun Riviera, Frank Hamm, Dylan Meklin and Michael Holland.
The cargo ship departed from Jacksonville, Fla. on Sept. 29, when Joaquin was a tropical storm. Of the crew members aboard, 28 were American and five were from Poland. The ship was heading to Puerto Rico when it was hit by winds of more than 130 mph and waves of up to 30 feet, prior to it going missing. Contact with El Faro was lost on Oct. 1, according to media reports.
The 735-foot El Faro is owned by Taro Inc., of Princeton, New Jersey, and operated by Tote Maritime Puerto Rico division.
Having a Cargo Ship Accident Investigated By Our Nationwide Maritime Attorneys
This story is a tragic reminder of the danger of performing maritime activities during poor weather. Vessel operators have a duty to make sure that crew members are kept safe by attempting to avoid travel during adverse weather events and that if they do travel in adverse weather conditions, the vessel can handle the conditions and has the appropriate life saving equipment on the board.
It has been reported that there was flooding in the vessel and that the ship lost power. Part of the investigation into this sinking will be the causes of the flooding, the inability of the ship to pump out the water and the loss of power. Proper investigation must be done by authorities and the cargo ship company to determine the cause of the sinking, why the ship lost propulsion and the course the ship was on based on the weather forecast.
The families of the lost crew member have suffered a horrific loss. Following an incident, most of the time, owners and operators will do everything they can to limit their recovery financially. They do this because maritime law is complex.
Our ship accident attorneys represent family members of maritime workers aboard dry cargo ships, container ships, carriers and tankers for more than fifty years. Carolyn Latti and David Anderson have pursued claims under the Jones Act and other forms of maritime law, including damages under Limitation of Liability. Visit our verdicts and settlement page to read more about how we have successfully litigated on the behalf of maritime accident victims and their family members.
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