Final El Faro Hearings to Start in February

Image Courtesy: NTSB

The third and final Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the El Faro disaster is scheduled to start on February 6, 2017, in Jacksonville.

This hearing will examine additional elements of the investigation including crew witnesses, TOTE company officials, Coast Guard officials and contents of El Faro’s voyage data recorder (VDR), including the transcript of bridge audio recordings which was released on December 13, 2016, by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The examination of data from the voyage data recorder started on August 15, a week after the device was brought to surface from the ocean floor.

NTSB managed to recover about 26 hours of information from the device, including bridge audio, navigational data, onboard radar images and wind data.

Numerous events leading up to the loss of the US-flagged cargo ship El Faro during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015 were heard on the VDR’s audio, recorded from microphones on the ship’s bridge, the board earlier informed.

The NTSB, which is conducting its own concurrent investigation, will fully participate in the Marine Board of Investigation hearings, the USCG said.

The final round of hearings is set to determine the factors that contributed to the accident and whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty.

Additionally, the investigation will show whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard personnel or any representative or employee of any other government agency or any other person caused or contributed to the casualty.

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