My husband was one of 33 crew members on the El Faro, a commercial sailing vessel which sank last fall during Hurricane Joaquin. This tragedy could have been prevented with more oversight of shipping companies, similar to air traffic controllers for planes, to stop companies from sending ships into dangerous weather.
The EL Faro sailed into Hurricane Joaquin on October 1st and sank in the Bermuda Triangle. It still rests 15,000 feet on the bottom of the sea and we have not heard from any of the crew members. The ship’s course took it about 70 miles from the center of the hurricane. The ship lost propulsion and power leaving it at the mercy of the sea and the storm.
We need Congress to take action to prevent this from happening again.
-When storms form while a vessel’s trip is underway, the vessel must take a diversionary route to avoid the storm. Currently those decisions are left to the Masters / Captains and Company.
-Ships must not depart sailing into the direction of a storm or hurricane. There should be 3rd party oversight to determine if ships are free to sail and what measures should be taken to ensure safety. (Ex. Air Traffic controllers have oversight in Airline Industry)
-All commercial vessels must have Enclosed Coast Guard approved life boats and are equipped with survival supplies. The EL Faro's Lifeboats were open and the newer, enclosed vessels would have increased likelihood of survival.
-Review and modify standards for commercial vessels life cycle and create tougher standards for commissioning vessels after rebuilds or revisions.
The time is now to draft and initiate changes to ensure the safety of men and women as they provide a much needed service to humanity.
Please sign our petition asking Congress to take action immediately. Let's not wait until after investigations are complete to do what only makes perfect sense to do now. These 33 lives be the catalyst for changes we need in the industry. God Bless Us All.