The U.S. Coast Guard has scheduled the third and final Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the loss of TOTE Services 790' ro/ro containership El Faro for Feb. 6, 2017 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The proceedings are expected to focus on the transcript of El Faro's bridge audio recordings, which was released Dec. 12 by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The wreck of the El Faro rests 15,000' below the surface near Crooked Isle, Bahamas. The recovery of the ship's voyage data recorder in August marked a major milestone in the investigation into the El Faro's sinking, providing 26 hours worth of audio data, including crew conversations recorded on the bridge. The 500-page transcript from the recovered ship’s voyage data recorder was the longest transcript ever compiled by the NTSB.
The hearing is expected to conclude the fact-finding phase of the Coast Guard's investigation into the loss of the ship and all 33 crewmembers on Oct. 1, 2015 in Hurricane Joaquin. The Coast Guard and the NTSB are conducting independent inquiries into the sinking. Once the MBI completes its analysis of information from the hearings, it will submit a report to the Coast Guard commandant for review, final determinations on safety recommendations, and public release.
The Coast Guard MBI will convene on Feb. 6 at the Prime F. Osborn Convention Center, 1000 Water Street, in Jacksonville. Additional details about the proceedings and schedule will be released closer to the date, the Coast Guard said. The event is open to the public and will be streamed live online.