The El Faro is a 790-foot cargo ship which the U.S. Coast Guard has determined to have sunk while passing through Category 4 hurricane Joaquin. It was on course from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico when communication from the vessel ceased October 1. The Coast Guard and Navy have been searching for survivors in the open water since Friday, October 2. So far one damaged lifeboat and one unidentified body (not confirmed to be an El Faro crewmember) have been found.
While the search continues for the crew of the El Faro Tuesday, we are reminded of the dangers those in maritime careers face. Inclement weather, fire, faulty equipment, maritime piracy – there are thousands of variables that could go wrong leaving any ship and its crew vulnerable to the open waters. However, El Faro was equipped with two lifeboats designed to carry 43 people each as well as five life rafts with a total capacity of 106 people. We hold out hope that survivors are found soon.
Certainly, Captain Michael Davidson and the other 32 crewmembers aboard the El Faro were well versed in the dangers that they faced before they departed Florida on September 29. As more pieces of information come to light, it seems that the crew was comprised of trained maritime professionals. Included in the crew roster were two graduates of Massachusetts Maritime Academy; Kevin Griffin of Winthrop, MA, and Jeffrey Mathias of Kingston, MA. At least four Maine Maritime Academy grads were also on board, including the Captain Michael Davidson of Rockland, ME, as well as Michael Holland of Wilton, ME, Dylan Meklin of Rockland, ME, and Danielle Randolph of Rockland, ME. Additionally TOTE Maritime, the vessel’s owner, states that “The crew are fully qualified members of the Seaman’s International Union and the American Maritime Officers”, and “All crew are fully trained to US and international standards”.
No complete crew list from TOTE Maritime has been made public, but our hearts and thoughts go out to all of those families of the El Faro who are waiting for their loved one’s return.