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WHEN

Now that the VDR from the SS El Faro has been in the hands of the NTSB since early August 2016 one hopes that the results of the data recovered will soon be made public. The NTSB has stated that 26 hours of information is available.  That information includes Bridge audio, navigational data, onboard radar images and wind data.  The timeline begins at 0537 on September 30, 2015 some 8 hours after the vessel left Jacksonville, FL.  The ship was then about 150 nautical miles southeast of that city.

On the morning of October 01, 2015 at 0613 the Master and crew members are heard discussing action regarding the flooding, the vessels list and the loss of propulsion.  The Master then notified the shore office about the critical situation and said he was going to send out a distress signal.  At about 0730 he sounded the abandon ship alarm.  The recording ends some 10 minutes later and the SS El Faro is now about 39 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas.  As this data is refined the times may be adjusted but appear to be generally accurate.

So it appears that at about 0600 or earlier the vessel is already listing, flooding and without propulsion clearly in very serious negative condition.  However it is not for another one hour and thirty minutes at 0730 that the abandon ship alarm is given.  One has to wonder why the apparent delay, sadly no one survived from the vessel and only one body was sighted which was not recovered.

Clearly there will be questions about the Masters decision making process and it is easy to "monday morning quarterback" but one has to wonder knowing this area as NAUTICAL LOG does for some 40 years why the vessel was where it was in the first place and not making its passage via the Straits of Florida.

Good Watch.

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