The schedule is set for the third and final Coast Guard hearing on the loss of TOTE Martime’s ro/ro containership El Faro in Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015.
The Marine Board of Investigation proceedings will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, at the Prime F. Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville, Fla. The hearing is expected to run daily until 4 p.m. through Friday, Feb. 17.
Witnesses include officials from TOTE, former El Faro shipboard personnel and personnel from other TOTE ships, Coast Guard representatives, and others. While the Coast Guard has said that contents of El Faro's voyage data recorder, including the transcript of bridge audio recordings released in December by the National Transportation Safety Board would be examined during the hearing, little of the scheduled testimony seems to be devoted to these aspects.
On Feb. 8, the El Faro’s former chief engineer is scheduled to testify on “VDR contents, engineering ops, [and] lube oil issues.” The next reference to the VDR on the Coast Guard schedule comes on Feb. 13, when TOTE’s manager of safety and operations is said to testify “related to comms with El Faro recorded on VDR.” Other scheduled testimony surrounds operations, repairs, life boats, and general shipboard conditions, among other topics.