Dec 13 The captain of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship
that sank near the Bahamas last year, killing all 33 onboard,
told a crew member that there was confusion about the location
of the storm that doomed the vessel, a transcript released on
The 790-foot (240-meter) El Faro sank on the morning of Oct.
1, 2015 in the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a
U.S.-flagged vessel in more than three decades.
The National Transportation Safety Board released the
510-page transcript and other data about the wreck, but said it
was not yet ready to identify the cause behind the sinking,
which came during a routine cargo run between Jacksonville,
Florida, and Puerto Rico.
"We're gettin' conflicting reports as to where the center of
the storm is," the captain, Michael Davidson, told his chief
mate at 5:03 a.m., according to the transcript. The alarm to
abandon ship sounded about 2-1/2 hours later.
The transcript, covering 10 hours and drawn from six
microphones on the ship's bridge, may be crucial in determining
why the ship sailed close to the storm's center and why it was
unable to withstand it, NTSB officials said at a news conference
But the transcript is also fractured, they said. In the
crucial hours before the deadly sinking, it is pocked with
conversations that investigators could not entirely make out
because of background noise or distance from microphones.
One question investigators are trying to answer is which
weather data the El Faro crew relied on. Davidson received data
by email that was six hours behind other information the crew
received, officials said.
"There were many sources of weather information. In
establishing what was likely viewed by various members of the
crew at specific times during the voyage, that is part of the
NTSB's ongoing investigation," James Ritter, director of the
NTSB's Office of Research and Engineering, said at the news
A data recorder, including the voice recording from the
bridge, was recovered from the wreckage about 15,000 feet (4,600
meters) below the surface of the ocean.
Thomson Reuters Eikon data previously revealed that the El
Faro was sailing at near full speed into the center of the
storm, raising questions about the captain's voyage plan.
(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby)