USCG Media Advisory: 1-26-16

HEARING SET FOR COAST GUARD MARINE BOARD OF INVESTIGATION INTO EL FARO SINKING

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct a public Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the loss of the United States-flagged steam ship EL FARO, and its 33 crewmembers.  The first hearing session will focus on the pre-accident historical events relating to the loss, the regulatory compliance record of the EL FARO, crewmember duties and qualifications, past operations of the vessel and the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue operations.  During a later hearing session (date to be determined) the accident voyage, including cargo loading, weather conditions and navigation will be examined in detail.  The National Transportation Safety Board, which conducted its own investigation, will fully participate in the Marine Board of Investigation hearings.

What: Marine Casualty Board of Investigation

When: Daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, February 16th – Friday, February 26th

Where:

Prime F. Osborn Convention Center

1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204

The investigation will determine as closely as possible:

  • The factors that contributed to the accident;
  • Whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty; and
  • Whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard personnel or any representative or employee of any other government agency or any other person caused or contributed to the casualty

Reporters must register to attend the hearing by emailing alana.l.ingram@uscg.mil. Media must register no later than 4 p.m Friday, February 12.

Ground Rules for the EL FARO Hearing are:

Reporters may attend open sessions of  the Marine Board, as may members of the public as long as they do not detract from the decorum of the proceedings or inhibit a witness’ willingness to testify.  The Coast Guard’s policy is to permit expanded media coverage of marine casualty investigations therefore audio and video recordings are authorized.

  • Media pooling will be required
  • Witnesses will not be available for interviews until the Marine Board Chairman releases them from their testimony
  • Entering and exiting the hearing room shall only be conducted during designated breaks
  • No extreme close-ups of documents, witnesses and/or members of the Marine Board
  • Bench conferences shall not be recorded by audio or by extreme close-up video or photography
  • Media members must prominently display their credentials at all times and remain within assigned area
  • Confidential communications between counsel and client or co-counsel shall not be recorded by audio or by extreme close-up video or photography
  • Questions regarding the proceedings shall be directed to the Coast Guard media liaison.  A liaison will be present at the venue throughout the hearing

Failure to adhere to these rules or other verbal instructions may result in removal from the hearings.

Contacts:

Alana Ingram, Public Affairs Office, alana.l.ingram@uscg.mil, 202-372-4632