The cargo ship El Faro was on the US Coast Guard’s list of vessels to be watched for problems, but the ship sank before this list was released, the sixth hearing on the sinking revealed on Monday, according to Associated Press.
During the hearing, USCG’s Capt. Kyle McAvoy said that the 40-year-old vessel, which sank in October 2015 due to the Hurricane Joaquin, was to be included in the USCG’s targeting list composed of ten percent of vessels that need severer inspections due to vessel age, expired documents or other problems.
According to the coast guard, the ill-fated vessel sank only days before the list was sent to vessel owners TOTE Services.
Investigators are currently looking into any misconduct or mistakes that might have had a role in the ship’s sinking.
The vessel was scheduled to undergo maintenance and repair works on its boilers only a month after its final voyage from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. According to inspectors, some parts of the boilers were severely deteriorated. Only a few days before it departed on it journey, the vessel experienced a power failure, one of the crew family members told the First Coast News.
Furthermore, Monday’s hearing showed that there were gaps in the communication between third parties, in charge of vessel reviews, and the coast guard, as the authority does not always receive all details on the maintenance works.
The coast guard was completely in charge of the undertaking vessel reviews up until the 1990s, but now some 90 percent of the workload is undertaken by third parties.
Namely, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a ten-day public Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the loss of the US-flagged vessel and its crewmembers.
The previous hearings revealed that, in his final calls for help, the captain of the sunken cargo ship said that the vessel was taking on water due to a breach in its hull and that “the clock is ticking”.
El Faro soon sank off Crooked Island, Bahamas in a water depth of 15,000 feet taking its crew of 33 members with it.
World Maritime News Staff