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Old 09-10-2015, 18:22   #76
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Yes it was a B60. I got confused when I read the first report because it had an ad for an Outbound in it. Adblocker not working.
Not to hijack this thread, you can find more info on this one

Possible loss of sv Europa"?
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Old 09-10-2015, 21:21   #77
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

A good maritime industry source for information on the El Faro is : gCaptain.com
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:34   #78
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

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Originally Posted by bongo View Post
The Polish riding crew could have been doing many kinds of repairs. I don't know what they were up too, (I'm sure as the investigation proceeds we'll find out). I heard a rumor they were doing steel repairs. Depending on what and where they were working, they may or may not have had a hand in the problems that arose.
I haven't looked at the gCaptain forum thread in several days, so I would now have a ton of catching up to do...

But one of the last things I noted, was a poster who serves as a RoRo driver in JaxPort saying that at one point during the loading procedure of EL FARO, he had to move his truck out of the way so that a large load of "pipes" could be brought aboard... Which of course led to immediate speculation that they might have been replacing some piping while underway...

Perhaps there has been some further information of clarification of that over there, I don't know... And of course, perhaps such equipment was simply part of the cargo destined for Puerto Rico... But the way he described it, it sounded like he assumed it was equipment specific to the ship itself...
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Old 13-10-2015, 10:16   #79
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

Here is an interesting article on the El Faro sinking, I came across today in Stars and Stripes, a news outlet mostly focused on military matters. The article is long, and includes several quotes from other seamen, along with content I had not seen in any other article.
The last voyage of the cargo ship El Faro - U.S. - Stripes
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Old 13-10-2015, 11:18   #80
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

Steady,
Thanks for the link to this article!

What I find interesting in this article, as well as in online discussions, are that everyone refers to the weather (tropical storm) out there when El Faro left port, but few mention the forecast? And, the forecast was for a strengthening storm, directly in the path of the rhumbline course from Jax to San Juan...and the continued forecasts were for even more strengthening (please see my original post here for the exact National Hurricane Center forecasts...)

This was my main impetus in starting this thread...to learn about the decision-making of commercial merchant captains, primarily regarding weather...


Here is a pertinent section from that Stars n Stripes article and some of my comments/clarifications in red:

Quote:
When Davidson pulled his ship out of Jacksonville, Joaquin wasn’t a hurricane, just a tropical storm, and cargo ships routinely sail through those. (but the forecast, even before leaving port, was for a 80kt hurricane to be directly in their path, in about 30 hours) But the El Faro had almost a full day of worsening warnings from the National Hurricane Center to alter course and avoid the storm.

Advisories from the National Hurricane Center repeatedly cautioned that the tropical storm would strengthen as it drifted toward the Central Bahamas — but at a pace that, at
least initially, left a small window for a captain and crew willing to endure what promised to be a rough passage.
(here again, most of us offshore sailors who are not commercial merchant captains, think of a "window" as a way around or avoidance of bad weather....rather than trying to "out-run" bad weather...so this was why I originally started this discussion, to learn how these guys make their decisions...)

By 11 a.m. on Sept. 30, when the El Faro was still some 200 miles north of the Bahamas, Joaquin had already become an 80-mph hurricane. (with an increase in forward speed, and a high confidence 24-36 hour track forecast, as well as further strengthening being forecast)
By 5 p.m., as the cargo ship passed east of Great Abaco at the northern end of the chain, Joaquin's winds had hit 85 mph. (with a further increase in forward speed, and a high confidence of further strengthening)
Forecasters also predicted additional strengthening, with Joaquin likely to grow into a major hurricane by Oct. 2.


The El Faro's small window quickly slammed shut.
(for those of us who are offshore sailors, but not commercial merchant captains, we never saw a "window" at all...and I suspect most merchant seamen would have seen any window clearly slammed shut more than 12 - 18 hours earlier) By 8 p.m., the winds had whipped up to 105 mph. Three hours later, the hurricane center declared Joaquin a major hurricane, Category 3 with 115 mph winds. Its projected track also put it directly in El Faro's path. (as it had since even before El Faro's departure from JAX) At that point, Marinetraffic.com tracking data shows the big ship was off Governor's Harbour in Eleuthera — still 200-plus miles north of Crooked Island and outside the core of Joaquin's worst winds.

But there would be no turning around. The ship kept pounding south-southeast at a brisk 19 knots early into the morning of Oct. 1. By 5 a.m., not long after the tracking data to Marinetraffic.com stopped with the El Faro off Cat Island, Joaquin was at 120 mph. Conditions only got worse. At 2 p.m., Joaquin was a Cat 4 — a 130 mph maelstrom.

By that time, nobody had heard from the El Faro for nearly five hours. Its last known message was a distress signal saying it had lost propulsion, was taking on water and was listing 15 degrees, but that the situation was still “manageable.” Tragically, it wasn’t.

Several long-time ship captains, though they all stressed that it’s impossible to know exactly what the conditions aboard the El Faro were or what Davidson was thinking, believe he made a serious error on the second day of his voyage, when he learned the storm had reached hurricane levels. (here is some more of the commercial merchant captains' decision-making info....and how it differs from most of ours...)


Again, Steady, thanks for posting this article!


fair winds..

John
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Old 31-10-2015, 18:08   #81
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

Now it begins!

TOTE Services Seeks Protection from Death Claims in El Faro Sinking


ORLANDO, Fla., Oct 31 (Reuters) – The owner of the U.S. cargo ship El Faro that sank in a powerful hurricane off the Bahamas nearly a month ago has filed for protection in Florida federal court from claims it is liable for the deaths of its 33 crew members.

Tote Services Inc filed for exoneration from or limitation of liability in U.S. district court in Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday, citing U.S. maritime law and saying El Faro “was in all respects seaworthy and properly manned” and that it bears no responsibility for its loss.

If it prevails, the company’s liability could top out at $1 million, or about $30,000 per lost crew member, Kurt Arnold, a lawyer for one of the victim’s families, said on Saturday.

The sinking of El Faro, and loss of everyone aboard, was the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged ship in more than three decades.

Arnold, of the Houston firm Arnold & Itkin, filed the fourth lawsuit against the company by families of its crew members on Wednesday.

“If Tote is telling the families and the press they want to do the right thing, then they should do it,” Arnold told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Tote’s spokesman would not comment on the litigation on Saturday.

El Faro disappeared while en route from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico after its captain reported a hull breach and loss of propulsion as the vessel sailed into the path of Hurricane Joaquin.

Provisions of U.S. maritime law can limit a ship owner’s financial liability to either the value of the vessel and cargo after a disaster or to a value based on the tonnage of the vessel, Arnold said.

In its court filing, Tote asked for maximum liability of no more than about $15 million. It also asked the court for an injunction against the opening or prosecution of any legal actions taken against it over the loss of El Faro.
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Old 31-10-2015, 20:21   #82
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

The ship El Faro has been found......

El Faro cargo ship, lost in Hurricane Joaquin, likely found in deep water - World - CBC News
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:28   #83
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

Well, here is another update...posted yesterday, 3 Nov 2015..

Yes, the NTSB contracted US Navy Tug Apache, has found the El Faro...
But, the bridge deck, and the deck below it, are no longer attached to the hull and they have not been located...
NTSB: El Faro Wreck Missing Bridge and Voyage Data Recorder - gCaptain

The voyage data recorder (VDR), which would have recorded no more than the final 24 hours of data (and perhaps less) was attached to the outside of the bridge....so until they find the bridge itself, and hopefully also find the VDR, it is unlikely that we'll know the exact details of what transpired when...



Quote:
A major disappointment announced today in the investigation into the El Faro sinking with the NTSB now saying that the wreck of the ship was discovered with the navigation bridge missing and no sign of the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR).
A salvage team onboard the contracted U.S. Navy tug Apache has been using the Curve 21 remotely operated vehicle to confirm and document the wreckage initially found Saturday off the Bahamas at a depth of 15,000 feet was in fact the missing El Faro.


In documenting the wreckage and debris field, the NTSB now reports that the navigation bridge and the deck below have separated from the vessel and have not been located.
The VDR is also missing, potentially a huge setback considering the key piece of equipment may hold clues about what happened in the final moments after the ship lost contact October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin


The NTSB says the team has also reviewed sonar scans of a nearby debris field and has not identified any targets that have a high probability of being the missing navigation bridge structure, which would have housed the VDR.
“Future plans are to redeploy the Orion side scan sonar system to generate a map of the debris field to locate the navigation bridge structure,” the NTSB said in its update.


The update added that the ROV documented both the port and starboard sides of the vessel, confirming that vessel is oriented in an upright position with the stern buried in approximately 30 feet of sediment.
.



Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those 33 lost at sea.
God Speed.


John
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Old 05-03-2017, 16:30   #84
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

FYI, here in the US, CBS' "60 Minutes" has another story about El Faro, airing tonight, Sunday 5 March 2017.

"Voices of the Lost"
Previewed here:
Preview: Voices of the Lost - CBS News
(this appears to be about the NTSB report)



Of course there is also last year's "60 Minutes" story about the loss of El Faro and the successful search for the ship and its voyage data recorder.
"Lost in the Bermuda Triangle"
Lost in the Bermuda Triangle - CBS News



My thoughts and prayers go out to the lost and their families.

John


P.S. I admit I haven't yet read the NTSB report, from 2 months ago....but am planning on it...
https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/h...EBBA4C6E76985F


https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/...lfaro_jax.aspx


http://gcaptain.com/ntsb-releases-el...io-transcript/
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Old 05-03-2017, 18:07   #85
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

The report concludes that there were two different weather reports. The report sent to Captain was 6 hours behind the report sent to the bridge. Why would this be the case and shouldn't the Captain had known the report wasn't up-to-date real time?
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Old 05-03-2017, 19:42   #86
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Re: Hurricane Joaquin vs. M/V El Faro's final voyage, weather and decsion-making...

To be clear the NTSB has not issued their final report (which is due later this year), but rather released (in Dec 2016) transcript of the voyage data recorder's audio recordings.
So, references to a "report" needs to be clarified...


And regarding the gist of this thread (weather info/forecasts), for clarification it was NTSB lead investigator Brian Young that was quoted in the "60 Minutes" report, saying the captain was using a graphically-depicted weather report (and forecast) on his computer, in his office, which had weather info (and forecasts?) that were 6 hours behind that of the official US NWS/NOAA (National Hurricane Center) weather info / forecasts being used by the watch officers on the bridge (probably being received directly via NAVTEX, SafetyNET/INMARSAT-C...or even HF-SITOR, or HF-WeFax).

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/incredibly-moving-audio-from-el-faros-final-hours/

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/voices-of-the-lost/


Quote:
Brian Young: What we have learned from the VDR is that multiple weather reports were being sent to the ship. The watch officers on the bridge were receiving weather reports that were printed out in black and white, and mostly text, and then the captain was receiving a graphically depicted weather report in his office every six hours.

Scott Pelley: Which were more accurate?

Brian Young: The ones on the bridge were more accurate in terms of time whereas the system that the captain received was six hours behind.

Scott Pelley: The weather information the captain was receiving in his office a deck below the bridge was six hours old?

Brian Young: Correct.

Scott Pelley: In a storm that is developing more rapidly than most hurricanes ever do?

Brian Young: Correct.
Please take note that the US NWS/NOAA issues reports / forecasts at least every 6 hours for all the waters (METAREAS) that they are responsible for.....so when these storms are well out to sea, the US/NWS NOAA reports and forecasts ("advisories") are undated at least every 6 hours, but when tropical cyclones are within 24-36 hours of landfall, the US NWS/NOAA, National Hurricane Center issues "interim advisories" every 3 hours....(it appears that even the producers of this "60 Minutes" piece didn't mention this, so highly doubtful that this vessel's captain was aware of this, either)

Now, the casual sailor that uses raw computer model data (such as GRIB charts and on-line sources like "passage weather", etc.) never gets the benefit of the seasoned / experienced marine meteorologists employed by the US NWS (and/or UK Met Off, Aus and NZ Bur of Met, etc.), which is a shame in itself...but even worse is that many "on-line" sources are not "live" and do not have the most up-to-date info/forecasts...

Even though it is almost never actually borne out as a fact, in our modern 21st Century, it has become commonplace for laypersons to assume that anything that is "new" is better...and/or anything that uses "new technology" must be better / more accurate...but this is almost always a fallacy that is covered-up by marketing hype, fancy apps, colored-graphics, and all sorts of "whiz-bang" features meant to shade your eyes from seeing the emperor has no clothes...

But, in this case we are dealing with a professional mariner who should have known better, and while we should all wait until the final NTSB report is released, one of my original questions here in this thread appears to have been answered....the captain's decision-making seems to have been based on old / out-dated (and inaccurate??) weather info/forecast, when new/timely and up-to-date weather info/forecasts were in the hands of the bridge crew / mates / watch officers...


Perhaps some here will criticize this thread again for pointing responsibility prior to the final NTSB report being released, but please look at my original posting on page #1, and read the forecasts 6 hours delayed, for yourself, and then go back and read 'em "live"....and then see if you would have made the same decisions??

And, then ask yourself what forecasts are you going to use this coming season?


Fair winds to all...

John
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