Final El Faro investigative hearings focus on ship safety

AP News
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Posted: Feb 06, 2017 2:38 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Testimony in the U.S. Coast Guard's final investigative hearings into the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro focused on the safety culture of the ship.

Capt. Raymond Thompson, a former chief mate on the El Faro, testified Monday that he was not sure if life jackets were stored on the bridge as required.

The 790-foot El Faro sank on Oct. 1, 2015 after losing propulsion in a hurricane while traveling from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. All 33 aboard died.

Information from the ship's voyage data recorder showed that as it was sinking, crew members on the bridge scrambled to get their life jackets, even though the safety equipment is required to be there.

The hearings are to last two weeks, after which the Coast Guard will issue a report.