In the latest testimonies of the second round of El Faro hearings the US Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation heard that the vessel’s captain relied heavily on the BonVoyage weather system, local media informed.
The board listened to a testimony from Kevin Stith, the Captain of El Yunque, who said that he believes the system was Captain Michael Davidson’s primary resource.
Last week’s hearings revealed that El Faro was sailing with outdated weather forecasts when it encountered Hurricane Joaquin near the Bahamas on October 1, 2015. The vessel’s weather monitoring program received a forecast which might have been 10 hours old, the executives with Applied Weather Technology, which delivers forecasts through the BonVoyage system, testified in earlier hearings.
The projected path for Hurricane Joaquin was also out-of-date by at least ten hours when El Faro was already long on its voyage, therefore, the vessel’s crew did not have an accurate track of the storm.
Stith, who earlier served aboard the El Faro as its first mate for about three weeks, said that he trusted Davidson’s judgement and abilities to navigate his vessel in stormy weather as he was aboard the cargo ship when it encountered rough weather from Tropical Storm Erika in August 2015.
In late September, Stith and Davidson’s vessels crossed paths as El Yunque was headed to Jacksonville, while El Faro was headed South to Puerto Rico on the ill-fated journey.
El Yunque’s captain testified that he informed Davidson that the storm was intensifying, as he encountered a 100-mile an hour wind gust.
World Maritime News Staff