2/9/2016: Hearing set for Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation into EL FARO Sinking

The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct a public Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the loss of the United States-flagged steam ship EL FARO, and its 33 crewmembers.

The first hearing session will focus on the pre-accident historical events relating to the loss, the regulatory compliance record of the EL FARO, crewmember duties and qualifications, past operations of the vessel and the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue operations.  During a later hearing session (date to be determined) the accident voyage, including cargo loading, weather conditions and navigation will be examined in detail.  The National Transportation Safety Board, which conducted its own investigation, will fully participate in the Marine Board of Investigation hearings.

What: Marine Casualty Board of Investigation

When: Daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, February 16th – Friday, February 26th (excluding 21 Feb.)

Where: Prime F. Osborn Convention Center, 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204

How: There are several ways interested parties may stay up to date with the MBOI proceedings.

The Coast Guard will be tweeting live hearing updates from @uscoastguard with the following hashtags: #cgmbi #elfaro.

An e-mail has been set up for interested parties to ask questions or make comments. This e-mail will be checked regularly. The e-mail is: ELFARO@uscg.mil

The Coast Guard is also hosting a live stream of the proceedings. The web address for the live stream is: livestream.com/ElFaro

The Coast Guard also posted an EL FARO media kit containing fact sheets, hearing schedules, advisories, press releases and biographies pertaining to the case:


The schedule is subject to change based on factors including, but not limited to witness and board availability, time and weather.  Please follow @uscoastguard on Twitter or the Coast Guard Maritime Commons blog for the most up to date changes.

View the media advisory for full details on how to register to attend.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.



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One Response

  1. Henning Heinemann says:

    What I hope comes out of this is we see the failures of the ISM system that turns everything into a procedure to follow and abdicates responsibility for decisions to committees when combined with the loss of hawsepipe experience from the wheelhouse of unlimited operations.

    After 30 years as a working master across the industry I have found that Maritime Academy grads are rare to go away from company doctrine even when the option is theirs to do otherwise.

    Satellite communications was the turning point that took vessel operation completely out of the wheelhouse and put it in the board room. The micromanagement that satcoms have allowed has left captains under the impression these decisions aren’t actually theirs, regardless how accurate that is. The captain’s call should provide sufficient evidence of that. For some reason he assumed that he was under orders to be on that route.