El Faro sinking investigation: What happens next

The investigation is still far from over.

More than a year since the sinking of El Faro, which claimed the lives of the 33 people on board, the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation continue to probe the sinking, with the main goal of preventing something like this from happening again.

WOKV has worked through hundreds of pages of new investigative documents released by the NTSB, providing details on new information, and context from what has already been presented.

Voyage Data Recorder Group Chairman's Factual Report: Captain altered course twice, but denied two more changes recommended by crew

Engineering Group Chairman's Factual Report: Boiler components were recommended for service, plant failed on final voyage

Electronic Data Group Chairman's Factual Report: Gaps seen in weather data downloads, but cause unclear

Survival Factors Group Chairman's Report: Open lifeboats allowed because of El Faro's age, both were badly damaged with nobody on board

Meteorology Group Chairman's Factual Report: Challenging storm led to substantial forecast track errors

Along with the new information from the NTSB, we’re also getting new images from the investigation, including some of the survival gear that was salvaged and a detailed look at the storm tracks and weather routing the were presented for the crew.

GALLERY: Exhibits from NTSB's factual reports

The NTSB has not issued any conclusions at this point. Analysis, findings, recommendations, and probable cause determinations will all come at the conclusion of the investigation overall. Their goal is to determine how and why the sinking happened.

The MBI’s stated goal is to determine what factors contributed to the accident; if there’s evidence of any misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence, or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certified person which contributed to the sinking; if there’s any evidence Coast Guard personnel, representative or employee of another government agency, or other person contributed to the sinking.

FULL COVERAGE: El Faro sinking

Part of the ongoing investigation is a third hearing session that will be held by the Coast Guard MBI in the coming weeks. The NTSB has participated in these sessions up until this time, and they’re expected to be involved in the third session as well. The MBI says that hearing will include examining the VDR data, as well as further interviews with TOTE company officials and crew witnesses.

While Boards have been cooperatively investigating, they will issue separate findings.

WOKV will continue to track every step in the investigation.

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