Matsonia - Hull Cracks & Oil Spills From El Faro’s 46 Year Old Sister Ship


Honolulu today. She appears to be back in service.


If that is your impression, I think you might be mistaken. We put all our mistakes in the window for everyone to see, thanks to our media, as bad as they are.

Nobody is perfect, certainly not the USA.

And most every American will tell you that.

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To answer the question, yes there was a political bend to my article addressed directly at the USCG (not the crew). But in truth I said very little in that article, mostly I just quoted the USCG Commandant’s own report. It was the USCG (not I) who said the El Faro was “too old” and it was the USCG report that recommended that open lifeboats be replaced but:

If the USCG wants us to polish turds then I have no doubt we can do it. If they want us to sail with open lifeboats then fine, we’ll do so accepting the risk. But when they say one thing and inspect for (or not inspect for) it ends up with the wrong people being blame (i.e. the crew) when shit does hit the fan.


That’s heart wrenching. I read through the last 36 hours or so of the bridge transcripts from El Faro and seeing that open boat still strapped to the back of that ship is distressing.


The Sate of Maine, Kennedy, and Empire State all still have open lifeboats too. Maine’s might be the scariest since some of her’s don’t have engines or even Fleming gear.

The common argument is that new training ships are being built so why outfit with new life boats?


Yes plus they filed for an exception from Murphy’s Law


Ohhhh… I thought they were grandfathered :woozy_face:

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It’s an incentive scheme to encourage folks to not sink the ships.


The Matsonia, as well as, the Lihue,The Kauai, and the Maui (though the Maui was towed away for scrap yesterday) all have inflatable life rafts as well as the boats, not a perfect solution for sure, but also worth noting.

Also I can’t count the number of times I sat on that lanai after watch.


What ships don’t have inflatable life rafts.

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Ouch! Sorry to read that, I also have fond memories of the Maui. Something about the smell of pineapples and molasses mingling with hot HFO.


I too am very sad that the MAUI is now gone as I know Matson maintained her well over the years. Is KAUAI still running?

those two as well as the MANULANI and MANUKAI were all fine ships and it is a shame they all have to die. I would have thought Matson would have bid on the tenders for the Air Force prepo ammunition ships with them. Easy to keep the boilers cold while at anchor and just have a very big diesel genset on deck then if the balloon were to go up, light off and make tracks to where ever the fight might be.


Tradewinds is towing her to Brownsville.


Kauai laid up last December then broke out this last February, she’s laying backup now, unless something unexpected happens, she won’t break back out (but then I’ve laid up the Kauai "permanently at least 5 times) The Lihue is laid up in Oakland, they keep teasing a breakout, and for now that is the reserve ship.

The Matsonia is supposed to lay 12DEC, and the Mokihana a week later, but of course that’s contingent and the new Matsonia and the new Lurline making it out of NASCO on time.

While the lay-up orders for the Kauai call for dehumidifation and heat lamps in April. they want nothing on the Matsonia except flooding and fire alarms.


“…those who would be forced to pay for change are the ones who prevent it.”

Yes, and therein lies where the USCG, as a regulatory body, are supposed to stand fast and clearly state, ‘The cost of safety is something you will have to absorb’.

The USCG should work with ABS (and any other Classification Society) and all P & I Clubs to support and encourage and provide financial “incentives” as rewards to make positive changes to garner better safety aboard ships.

But the CG Inspections office caved in to the pleas of ‘costs’ and allowed the carriage of open lifeboats for many more years aboard older ships. Sorry. If that offends you or anyone else, it is not meant to disparage the USCG in any way. It is a lesson learned. Mostly for the USCG leadership.

There are still ships carrying open lifeboats. Even the US Army Corps of engineers own ships (Dredge ESSAYONS) have open boats.

In the wake of the EL FARO, you’d think there would be significant pressure to change that allowance. Nope.

“…Mariners’ opinions or feelings are irrelevant…”
Yes, especially when they are dead.


So true. Thanks for your posts.

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BTW…the Fed’s own ship, the Dredge ESSAYONS, has open lifeboats. She another old classic ship. She’s in the yard here in Honolulu, a stone’s throw from where the MATSONIA ties up. I appreciate the Federal Gov’t makes rules that all their own ships don’t have to implement (Navy & USCG). But when it comes to safety, you’d think everyone would be on the same page.

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

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