New Hearings Aim to Uncover Mysteries of El Faro Sinking

The Takeaway

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Last fall, the sinking of the 800-foot S.S. El Faro cargo ship killed 33 crew members. The incident is considered the worst commercial maritime disaster in the U.S. in decades.

The ship set out from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico in the midst of Tropical Storm Joaquin, which turned into a category 3 hurricane by the time the boat was in open waters.

Hearings are set to begin today in Jacksonville on the sinking of the ship, giving family members of those lost a final chance for closure.

The investigation hopes to uncover whether or not the ship was seaworthy, if the company was at fault, or if the captain made the unilateral decision to outrun the storm—questions that may not have answers.

Ryan Benk, a reporter for WJCT Jacksonville, has been following the story. He joins The Takeaway to discuss the issues that will be investigated at the hearings, and the reaction of the families of the crew members. 

John Konrad is a veteran captain, CEO of G-Captain, a popular website dedicated to maritime professionals, and author of the book: "Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster." Having sailed some of the world's largest ships, Konrad knows well the dangers associated with navigating the seas, and what the crew aboard El Faro might have been up against.