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El Faro Maritime Disaster


Back in 2015, the entire 33-member crew of the freighter El Faro were killed in a devastating tragedy. The accident, which has been labeled one of the worst U.S. maritime disasters in modern times, occurred during a trip from Florida to Puerto Rico. Recent investigations into the maritime accident have revealed that the ship’s captain acted negligently and headed directly into the strengthening Hurricane Joaquin.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation showed that Captain Michael Davidson and his crew had attempted to make two different course corrections to avoid the storm. Sadly, the crew was relying on outdated weather information, so their corrections only put them more directly in the path of Hurricane Joaquin. Investigators found the Captain had ignored three calls to his quarters informing him that the El Faro was on course to head directly into the storm. Instead, the Captain used outdated weather information from the El Faro’s Bon Voyage System computer software.

In the early hours of October 1st, the El Faro battled against hurricane winds and began taking on water. The El Faro lost propulsion capabilities around 6:16 a.m. and the Captain gave orders to abandon ship an hour and thirteen minutes later. The major issues that contributed to the tragedy according to the investigations were the outdated weather information, damage control, suitability of the lifeboats and the actions of both the captain and bridge crew.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s chairman believes that this sea disaster should be studied carefully to provide improved safety for future mariners. The committed attorneys at Johnstone Carroll are dedicated to pursuing compensation for clients injured at sea. Our lawyers focus on injuries and wrongful death claims arising from maritime accidents such as the El Faro tragedy. To learn more about our law firm and other types of cases we handle, contact us at 205.509.1226 or via our online contact form.


The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.