NTSB Breaks Down El Faro Findings in Must-Read Illustrated Digest

stern of the El Faro as seen from underwater ROV
The stern of the El Faro is shown on the ocean floor taken from an underwater video camera on November 1, 2015. Courtesy National Transportation Safety Board/Handout

The National Transportation Safety Board has released 16-page illustrated digest summarizing in detail the critical events and decisions that led to the October 1, 2015 sinking of the American cargo ship El Faro with the loss of all 33 crew members.

The digest also synopsizes the more than 60 recommendations issued throughout the NTSB’s investigation of the sinking.

In its final report into the disaster, the NTSB said the Captain’s decisions and TOTE’s poor oversight and inadequate safety management system led to the sinking, the deadliest shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than 30 years

“We may never understand why the captain failed to heed his crew’s concerns about sailing into the path of a hurricane, or why he refused to chart a safer course away from such dangerous weather,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “But we know all too well the devastating consequences of those decisions.”

The NTSB notes that while the full accident report remains the agency’s definitive document on its investigation of the sinking, the digest provides an overview of the landmark marine accident, and a review of what government and industry can do to prevent such an accident from happening again.

“The infographics and summary make for an easy-to-read digest, compared with the thousands of pages that comprise the NTSB’s final report and associated investigative documents, while still imparting potentially lifesaving information to our stakeholders,” the NTSB said in releasing the digest.

Here’s a link to the NTSB Illustrated Digest (opens as pdf): Sinking of the US Cargo Vessel El Faro