Jacksonville, FL — Three years after 33 people died aboard the Jacksonville-based cargo ship El Faro when she sank in Hurricane Joaquin, October 1, 2018, has been proclaimed as El Faro 33 Memorial Day in Jacksonville.
“The 33 men and women of the El Faro will forever remain in the hearts of their loved ones, our city, our country and the maritime industry worldwide,” says the proclamation signed by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
FULL COVERAGE:The sinking of El Faro
El Faro was heavily loaded and traveling from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. The crew was joined by a Polish riding crew that was on board to do work to prepare the ship to shift in to the Alaskan trade.
In his final shoreside communication, El Faro’s Captain reported that they had taken on water through an open scuttle. Efforts to balance out the list led to the ship over-correcting, cargo likely breaking loose, and the loss of lube oil suction, which led to a loss in propulsion, according to federal investigators.
GALLERY: Tributes to the El Faro crew
Both the NTSB and Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation issued findings on the cause of the sinking and recommendations to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. Both faulted the Captain's decision making, in bringing the ship too close to the major hurricane, but there were many other contributing factors uncovered through the investigations including an insufficient safety management system, failure to find deficiencies on the vessel, and a failure to properly oversee third-party inspections.
The Coast Guard has been working to implement some of the changes put forward in the MBI's report, and Congress recently passed a bill of safety reforms, which is now waiting for the President's signature.