The final inspection of the ill-fated cargo ship El Faro did not show any signs of mechanical or structural issues, the latest round of hearings held by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation revealed, according to local media.
On the fourth day of the hearings, the board listened to a testimony from a surveyor with the American Bureau of Shipping, Mark Larose, who inspected the vessel some three months before its final voyage.
He said that, during the inspection conducted in June 2015, the 20 percent of the ship which was inspected that year did not show any mechanical or structural issues, adding that they only inspect 20 percent of a ship each year over a 5-year period.
Larose further said that if he had noticed any issues during the inspection, he would have reported those to the Coast Guard immediately.
Previous hearings held in the second round of the Coast Guard’s investigation revealed that the US-flagged cargo ship received outdated weather forecasts before it encountered Hurricane Joaquin. Furthermore, the former El Faro master, Capt. Jack Hern, earlier testified that he had raised concerns over the ship’s stability, citing water integrity-issues, wear on hatches and boilers that often needed maintenance as key vulnerabilities.
On May 16, 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 that he planned to avoid the storm in the Caribbean, which led to the loss of the vessel and its 33 crewmembers near the Bahamas on October 1, 2015.
The second round of hearings into the loss of El Faro, which was launched by the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation on Monday, is set to last until May 27.
World Maritime News Staff