Did the El Faro Captain Report a Hull Breach?
According to CNN, the captain of the El Faro cargo ship that is presumed to have sunk during Hurricane Joaquin reported a hull breach, blown scuttle and the presence of water onboard the vessel before it went missing.
The National Transportation and Safety Board, which is investigating the ship’s disappearance, has confirmed the communication of issues aboard. The El Faro never made it to Puerto Rico after leaving from Jacksonville earlier this month. There were 33 people aboard the vessel who are believed to be dead.
The NTSB reported last week that a recorded call from the ship’s captain on October 1 reported the issues. The captain said the vessel lost its main propulsion unit and its engines were unable to function. The vessel’s last reported position was about 20 miles from the edge of the hurricane’s eye, the NTSB reported.
Additionally, investigators have discovered that the vessel successfully “completed the American Bureau of Shipping class and statutory surveys in February, meeting all regulations and rules,” and that its last annual inspection was performed in March.
In September, the ship’s owner, TOTE Maritime, allegedly shut down one of the vessel’s two boilers so that it could be inspected independently. A service company recommended that both boilers aboard the ship be repaired, which was scheduled to take place in November.
Safety drills aboard the vessel were allegedly performed on a weekly basis and the ship met stability criteria before it left from Jacksonville. It is still unknown why the ship made a voyage in dangerous conditions.
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Continue to follow our blog for more news about El Faro. As we reported last week, it is not unusual for vessel operators to seek a Petition for Limitation of Liability in an attempt to limit the amount of damages they will have to pay when disasters like this occur.
Our maritime trial lawyers are not afraid to fight Petitions for Limitation of Liability and have obtained many verdicts and settlements for victims and their family members.
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