The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the El Faro sinking during Hurricane Joaquin.
The El Faro, a U.S. flagged container ship, had been headed out of Jacksonville, Florida on September 29 on its way to Puerto Rico. However, the last recorded communication with the ship was on October 1 when the captain said that the ship was taking on water, was listing 15 degrees and had lost propulsion.
Though rescue efforts were undertaken immediately, those efforts were greatly impeded by hurricane conditions. One body has been recovered so far and the remaining crew members are presumed to have lost their lives in the tragedy.
The ship was owned by Sea Star Line, LLC and operated by TOTE Services.
NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on El Faro Sinking
The NTSB preliminary report on the El Faro sinking provides only a limited amount of information. It mentioned the last communications from the captain to TOTE and detailed the search efforts to date.
But, the report makes clear that the NTSB is now leading a full federal investigation into the incident, in cooperation with the Coast Guard, the American Bureau of Shipping, and TOTE. Also, the US Navy Salvage and Division division will be assisting with the search for the ship and retrievals of the voyage data.
Lawsuit Filed for Worker Presumed Dead in El Faro Sinking
The family of one of the 33 workers presumed dead has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit agains TOTE and the captain of the ship. The lawsuit claims that the company was negligent in allowing the ship to go to sea, despite being unseaworthy and incapable of handling the storm conditions.
This is no doubt the first of many such claims that will be brought following this tragedy.