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October 3, 2017 1 COMMENTS

Coast Guard: El Faro captain underestimated hurricane

A report from the U.S. Coast Guard released on Sunday said that Capt. Michael Davidson of Maine was responsible for the 2015 sinking of the cargo ship El Faro.

According to an Associated Press report published by the Sun Journal, the Coast Guard report concluded that Davidson underestimated the strength of Hurricane Joaquin's winds and overestimating the ship's strength, should have changed course, and should have taken more aggressive measures to save the ship when it got stuck.

Five crew members, including the captain, were graduates of Maine Maritime Academy. All 33 crew members died.

At a news conference in Jacksonville, Fla., Capt. Jason Neubauer, who chaired the investigation, said the Coast Guard would have sought to revoke Davidson's license if he had survived.

The report also said the ship's owner, TOTE Maritime Inc., had not replaced a safety officer and had violated regulations regarding crew rest periods and working hours. The Coast Guard said it will seek civil actions against TOTE.

The report also found that a weather prediction system that would have sent emailed updates about Hurricane Joaquin to Davidson had not been activated and that the National Hurricane Center should re-evaluate the effectiveness of its forecasts for storms that may not make landfall but may impact ships.

In May, WGME reported that several insurance companies filed a lawsuit against a weather forecasting services and support company called StormGeo, alleging StormGeo's Bon Voyage System version 7, used by El Faro, "provided delayed, inaccurate and misleading information" about the vessel's position, leading Capt. Michael Davidson to sail into the hurricane.

Comments

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Clifford Goudey

Newburyport
10/04/17 AT 08:13 AM
This smells of scapegoating. How was Captain Davidson supposed to know the strength of that approaching storm when the National Hurricane Center forecasts for storms that aren't going to make landfall are substandard and the commercial storm prediction system used by the El Faro was flawed?

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