USCG El Faro Investigation Report


On cruise ships: how about one per lifeboat designated “captain” instead of each PFD?


Well said @john. Now if we could get the USCG and ABS to read it.


Oh they are reading it, I am sure of that. Some are also plotting their revenge (or so, at least one person has told me).

Getting them to do something productive for the safety of mariners with their anger… now thats something I haven’t figured out.


lots to contemplate but nothing new or which has not been discussed before except this recommendation in the report:

Recommendation #13 – Anonymous Safety Reporting to Shore for Ships at Sea. It is recommended that Commandant direct the development of a shipboard emergency alert system that would provide an anonymous reporting mechanism for crew members to communicate directly with the Designated Person Ashore or the Coast Guard while the ship is at sea. The system would be in place to report urgent and dire safety concerns that are not being adequately addressed onboard the ship or by shore based company resources in a timely manner.

automatic reporting of unseaworthiness or non conformity with the SMS without a name attached sent not just to the DPA but to the OCMI. With this, no one will be able to sweep deficiencies which risk lives or the environment under the rug because there will be an official record of the report. Should there be a catastrophic loss which was directly attributable to any such a report received there MUST be a criminal penalty for not making all efforts to correct the deficiency. Not only the operators as a corporation be criminally liable but also ANY person within management who is in the decision chain of custody be able to be tried criminally as well and to serve serious jail time if they failed to ensure the safety of life and the environment. With such potential personal consequences to one’s professional status as well as personal freedom, few will be willing to continue to be lapdogs for top executives. Make it so that if a DPA tried to correct safety deficiencies but got pushback from higher ups, give him the ability to turn witness for the prosecution in any trial. Those without guilt will have nothing to fear but those who colluded to prevent deficiencies be rectified should be made to swing!

Also USCG MUST be mandated to follow up on any and all reports received even if anonymously and ensure that the operators are making corrections otherwise USCG should be held liable in civil court for damages from anyone injured or the survivors of those lost.



Agreed and we should declare bankruptcy on the entire Designated Person concept.

That said you can call the ocmi now. I’ve done it once myself and I might as well have been anonymous because nothing happened. There has to be some sort of public display of the submissions so they can’t be ignored.


Does the uscg hold anyone criminally liable anymore? When is the last case they jailed someone shoreside?


of course when oil is spilled but not when lives are lost…IT’S TIME THAT CHANGED!


agree entirely with the submittal MUST be in the public record with tracking…when submitted it will require an electronic receipt with a confirmation code which can be tracked if there is an accident…the report will need to be sent on a secure server with digital protections to allow the sender to have a certified copy of the report he sent…once the lawyers get their hands on that initial report of unseaworthiness they can follow the digital papertrail afterwards to discover who altered the initial report and then that person will be looking at some rest time away from their family for a long while. Codify that to alter or change any such report of unseaworthiness to be a criminal offense!

here is a novel concept…make the position of DPA one which MUST be held by a licensed master or chief. Make their license be at risk if they fail to perform their sworn duty to upholding the mandates of the ISM Code.


Who is plotting revenge? The mariners, CG, or ABS? I know it’s not the mariners because we get fucked from both directions, the office and the CG.


No, not the mariners… and you’re forgetting the shipowners… but I have received a small but disturbing amount of hate mail from a handful of mariners who want lat 100% of the blame on the captain.


Good idea but certainly not a job I’d volunteer for. And what’s to say they don’t fill it with liscensed mariners already in the office who have no intention of going back to sea?


The shipowners, yes. The ones that say get underway or lose your job. The captain rolled the dice to keep his job and hoped for the best. Had the boiler not died he may have lucked out, unfortunately he and the crew lost that gamble.


boilers were fine…it was lube oil to the propulsion turbines

everything, but everything stems from the choice of the route…we all know deep inside that Davidson did not take the Old Bahamas Channel when the EL FARO departed Jax because he had gotten his peepee spanked for using it a month before. Very likely he was told that if he did that again that he’d be looking for work afterwards. As a result, he drove headlong directly towards a strong hurricane which was not turning north just to keep from being fired and lost his life in the bargain. Yes, he thought the storm was going to stop going SW’ly and when it didn’t he made one final fatal decision…to keep steaming on and not slowing down or eventually heaving to! WHY? WHY? WHY? Surely, he could have told TOTE that he tried to go straight to San Juan but Joachim blocked him and he had to wait for it to pass. They might still have fired him but a master with integrity will take that fall. Again, the best masters are the ones who retire with never having every had even a small accident because they did not take chances and played it safe. They may have been fired half a dozen times but they know deep inside their being they made the right call and kept every one safe every time. In this Davidson failed miserably.

Of course, the accident report touches on none of this


Lots of ammo to remove the Jones act.
Is shipping that poor anywhere else in the world?
Perhaps the standard would go up without the Jones Act?

I dont believe that but crikey some opponents will say it


Nobody knows the true number but the best estimate I’ve seen is that 50 commercial ships are lost every year. That’s about one per week.

Are there foreign operators that operate with higher standards than Tote? Yes, many! But there are many more that are worse.

Eliminate the Jones act and who will replace the American ships? Will there standards be higher than Totes? Or lower?

But that does lead to an interesting question… who is more tolerant of deficiencies? USCG port state inspectors or USCG flag state inspectors??


IMO this is yet another cop out by the USCG! Blame the captain while shore side gets away? We all know, 100%, without a doubt, the office not only hung his job over his head, but the chance for that pretty new LNG ship. He’s already been screwed before by doing the right thing and his past messed up his judgement. Great job… The CG is worthless.


This is from page 188 of the report about the Alternate Compliance Program.

Based on the results of the Coast Guard Traveling Inspector ACP oversight exams that were conducted in 2015 and 2016, it is clear that multiple U.S. cargo vessels were operating for prolonged periods in a substandard material condition. Although the Coast Guard’s focused oversight on the ACP targeted vessels corrected the most egregious cases of non compliance, a seminal change in the overall management and execution of the Program is urgently needed to ensure safe conditions are sustained on the enrolled U.S. commercial vessels.


Why would we expect USCG to do a better job of doing something complex, like ship inspection, than they do with the relatively easy job of Mariner licensing at NMC?

The USCG’s performance is the same with both programs, a dismal failure.


As an alien, as define by US immigration service, I don’t want disrespect the USCG but can’t help thinking that with USCG chairing the board of inquiry, USCG has been investigating itself -what happened to independent external auditing ala ISM, ISO 90001 et al? I could go on about the UK MAIB (and its equivalent elsewhere) but perhaps the USCGG does need an independent body to kick its ass (occasionally).

…ducking for cover…


No Ffinn, you are absolutely right. If you aren’t familiar with the incident, read the report on the SS Marine Electric and then the excellent book that covers both the sinking, SAR effort, and subsequent investigation, “Until the Sea Shall Free Them”. The MAIB in the UK does it right, we have too much CYA in these things, although I am hopeful the NTSB report will be more aggressive on the shortcomings of the current inspection regime.