February 23rd, 2016 Donal Scully Donal Scully
The El Faro was on a list of vessels considered to be in need of more safety inspections, according to testimony on Monday at the hearing into the sinking of the cargo ship.
Speaking at the US Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Board of Investigation in Jacksonville, Florida, Captain Kyle McAvoy USCG Chief of Commercial Vessel Compliance said El Faro was on his office’s targeting list of ships needing extra inspection. The list was to have been released just days after the day El Faro sank.
McAvoy said the reason El Faro was put on the list was because of a marine casualty incident involving a crewmember’s health.
Much of Monday’s hearing, the sixth day of a potential 10, concerned the USCG’s Alternate Compliance and Safety Agreement Program (ACP) under which many vessel inspection jobs are outsourced to third parties because USCG lacks the resources to do them all itself.
Before the 1990s the USCG was doing all inspections itself.
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Another witness, Captain John Mauger, Commanding Officer with the USCG Marine Safety Centre, told the hearing that the ACP had deficiencies including significant error rates and discrepancies in work done by third parties. But he drew no direct link to the El Faro case.
Splash 24/7The 40-year-old El Faro ship, which sank in a hurricane last October 1, was always needing maintenance, its former chief engineer said at an ongoing US Coast Guard enquiry yesterday.
The investigating panel were told about problems affecting the boilers while Capt Todd Coggeshall, from the US Coast Guard, said the Tote-controlled vessel did not have an enclosed free fall lifeboat.
Rod Sullivan, a Jacksonville maritime attorney, said the questions about the ship having open life boats instead of closed ones is another issue the maritime industry is going to have to deal with.
“That’s been a known problem for years,” Sullivan said. “Once a vessel is 15% listing, launching the lifeboats is a virtual impossibility. Launching lifeboats in 30 ft seas is impossibility. So then you’re relegated to using the rafts and getting off ship into life rafts in heavy seas is a real chore.”
the Engine Room was clean.
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