Outdated Storm Forecast Sent to El Faro

The latest round of testimonies on the El Faro sinking revealed that the ill-fated vessel received outdated weather forecasts before it encountered Hurricane Joaquin near the Bahamas on October 1, 2015, according to local media.

El Faro’s weather monitoring program received a forecast which might have been 10 hours old, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation heard from the executives with Applied Weather Technology, which delivers forecasts through the BonVoyage system.

Namely, National Weather Service releases the forecasts which must be inserted into the BonVoyage system, a process which can last for some nine hours.

Furthermore, the witnesses confirmed that the projected path for Hurricane Joaquin was out-of-date by at least ten hours when El Faro was already long on its voyage, therefore, the vessel’s crew did not have an accurate track of the storm.

The second round of hearings into the loss of El Faro was launched by the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation on Monday, when the board listened to the testimony of Captain Eric Bryson, who helped launch the El Faro on its final voyage, as he testified that the ship’s captain had said he planned to avoid the storm in the Caribbean.

Further hearings held on Tuesday revealed that there were concerns over the ship’s stability, as former El Faro master, Capt. Jack Hern cited water integrity-issues, wear on hatches and boilers that often needed maintenance as key vulnerabilities of the ship.

Hern also testified that, during his service as captain of the ship, El Faro was often hauling full loads of cargo, and that the vessel’s owner, Tote Services, had a tendency for slow reaction to issues raised concerning other ships’ seaworthiness.

The second round of hearings, set to last until May 27, will cover other circumstances surrounding the sinking of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship as the officials try to find the reasons which led to the loss of the vessel and its 33 crewmembers.

World Maritime News Staff

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