Final hearing set for Coast Guard's El Faro investigation


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The third and final Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the sinking of the Jacksonville-based cargo ship El Faro will begin in February, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday. 

The public hearing into the loss of El Faro and its 33 crew members is scheduled to start on Feb. 6 at the Prime F. Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville. 

During the hearing, additional elements of the investigation will be reviewed, including crew witnesses and officials from the Coast Guard and TOTE, which is the company that owned El Faro. 

Contents of the ship's voyage data recorder will also be examined, including the transcript of the bridge audio recordings, which was released Dec. 13 by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Officials recovered about 26 hours of information from the black box, which revealed that Capt. Michael Davison twice ignored suggestions to change course in the hours before El Faro sank in the Caribbean, according to NTSB.

The 737-foot ship sank about 7:40 a.m. Oct. 1, 2015, fewer than 90 minutes after losing power just east of the Bahamas as Hurricane Joaquin approached. 

NTSB, which is conducting its own investigation, will fully participate in the Marine Board of Investigation hearings.

The Coast Guard will be releasing a more detailed schedule ahead of the February hearing.