An inspection carried aboard the US-flagged cargo vessel El Faro in March 2015 showed that the ship’s equipment seemed well-maintained and in working order, a former US Coast Guard inspector told the USCG Marine Board of Investigation, according to local media.
As part of the latest hearings into the loss of the 40-year-old vessel and its 33 crewmembers on October 1, 2015, during Hurricane Joaquin, the board heard a testimony from a former USCG inspector Jerry McMillan, who said that during that visit to the ship he inspected several things, including cargo gear lashings, containers, life jackets and emergency suits, the deck, hall openings, hatches and watertight doors.
He added that, although El Faro was an older vessel, everything looked like it was in good condition and the crew on board was very proficient.
Earlier this week the Marine Board of Investigation heard a testimony from Kevin Stith, the Captain of El Yunque, which revealed that El Faro’s captain relied heavily on the BonVoyage weather system.
Namely, El Faro was sailing with outdated weather forecasts when it encountered Hurricane Joaquin near the Bahamas, earlier testimonies stated. 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, said.
While deployed on its final voyage from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico, El Faro sank off Crooked Island, Bahamas in a water depth of 15,000 feet.
World Maritime News Staff