74ºF

Coast Guard told El Faro met all regulations, was cleared to sail from Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – S.S. El Faro met all U.S. Coast Guard regulations and was permitted to sail when it left Jacksonville's port en route to Puerto Rico, a marine board was told Thursday during a final set of hearings into the sinking of the ship.

The freight ship went down in the Caribbean when it lost propulsion as it neared Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015. All 33 crew members died.

Under questioning from the attorney for El Faro Capt. Michael Davidson, Tom Gruber, former head of the stability group for the American Bureau of Shipping, admitted the ship was in compliance with ABS's trim and stability rules.

The lawyer for ABS added that the industry group provides a manual on stability requirements, but it is not responsible for training crew members on what’s in it.

Loyal family members of the many of those who died aboard El Faro continue to attend the Coast Guard Marine Board hearings, hoping to learn details about why the ship sank.

"Some of it’s beyond my understanding due to the applicability of standards," said Glenn Jackson, who lost his brother, Jack, in the tragedy. "Some of those things, they appear to be in contrast of mandatory safety.”

Jack Jackson spoke with his brother the night El Faro set sail and is thankful for the Coast Guard and NTSB’s hard work.

The third and final round of hearings will continue Friday and through next week.

“This may go on for quite a while," Jackson said. "From my understanding, the Coast Guard's final report is not expected another year or 18 months. These men and women are doing an incredibly exhausted research of the records and interviewing the witnesses to get to the cause of this tragedy."