Search Results for: Inmarsat

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NTSB issues new update on El Faro investigation

On February 13, 2015, El Faro successfully completed the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) class and statutory surveys, meeting all rules and regulations as applicable. All deficiencies identified were rectified prior to completion of the surveys. None of the deficiencies were associated with El Faro’s main propulsion systems.

The annual inspection of El Faro, required by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), was completed by qualified USCG inspectors in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 6, 2015.

In June 2015, a qualified ABS surveyor examined and tested the main, auxiliary and emergency systems as part of the continuous machinery survey program and found them to be satisfactory.

TOTE told investigators that El Faro was scheduled to be removed from the route between Jacksonville and San Juan and redeployed to the U.S. West Coast where it would operate between Washington State and Alaska. In August, in order to prepare for this operational change, TOTE began to make modifications to the vessel while underway under the supervision of an additional chief engineer. Work on these modifications was performed by welders and machinists over many voyages, including during the accident voyage.

On September 11, 2015, TOTE received permission from the Coast Guard to shut down one of the ship’s two boilers so it could be inspected by an independent boiler service company during a voyage between San Juan and Jacksonville. As a result of the inspection, the boiler service company recommended service to both boilers during an upcoming drydock period that had already been scheduled for November 6, 2015. The boiler was returned to service following the inspection.
Interviews of relief crew and company management indicated that onboard safety drills were consistently conducted on a weekly basis. These included lifeboat drills for all crewmembers to ensure that all on board understood their responsibilities in an emergency.

Investigators interviewed two pilots that had guided El Faro in and out of the Port of Jacksonville; both reported that the vessel handled similarly to other vessels of its size and type.

The vessel’s terminal manager reported that El Faro met stability criteria when it left Jacksonville.The company’s procedures called for some cargo on the ship to be “double lashed” regardless of the weather expected to be encountered during the voyage. The vessel stevedores reported that prior to El Faro’s departure on the accident voyage, the cargo was secured in accordance with those procedures.

Before El Faro departed Jacksonville, Tropical Storm Joaquin was predicted to become a hurricane and a marine hurricane warning was issued by the National Hurricane Center’s Advisory #8 at 5:00 pm EDT on Sept. 29.

At about 8:15 pm EDT on Sept. 29, El Faro departed Jacksonville, Fla., for San Juan, Puerto Rico.

At 1:12 pm EDT on Sept. 30, the captain emailed a company safety official that he intended to take a route south of the predicted path of the hurricane and would pass about 65 miles from its center.

In an advisory issued at 2:00 am EDT on Oct. 1, the National Hurricane Center predicted seas of 30 feet with sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph), increasing to 105 knots (121 mph) as the El Faro approached the wall of the eye of the hurricane.

In a recorded satellite phone call to the company’s emergency call center at 7:00 am EDT, the captain told the call center operator that he had a marine emergency. He reported that there was a hull breach, a scuttle had blown open, and that there was water in hold number 3. He also said that the ship had lost its main propulsion unit and the engineers could not get it going. The operator then connected the captain with the Designated Person Ashore (DPA). The DPA told investigators that the captain had communicated similar information to him that was provided to the call center operator, and also that the captain had estimated the height of the seas that El Faro was encountering to be 10 to 12 feet.

The USCG received electronic distress alerts from three separate sources on El Faro: the Ship’s Security Alert System (SSAS), the Inmarsat-C Alert, and the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

According to electronic alert system data sent by the vessel at 7:17 am EDT on Oct. 1, its last reported position was about 20 miles from the edge of the eye of the hurricane.

The USCG did not have direct voice communications with El Faro, only electronic distress alerts.

The NTSB investigators that traveled to Florida have returned to continue work on the investigation from NTSB headquarters in Washington.

The NTSB contracted with the U.S. Navy to locate the ship, document the wreckage on the sea floor and recover the voyage data recorder.

The USNS Apache, a fleet ocean tug, was outfitted with specialized equipment for this mission, and departed Little Creek, Virginia, at about 4:30 pm EDT on October 19. In addition to the Navy crew, the NTSB investigator-in-Charge, Tom Roth-Roffy, is on Apache with representatives from the USCG, TOTE and ABS, all parties to the NTSB investigation.

The Apache is estimated to arrive at the last known position of El Faro on Saturday, October 24, to begin the search for the ship and to recover the voyage data recorder. Once the search operation begins, it is expected to take at least two weeks.

The length of the operation will depend on the circumstances encountered.Updates on the search for the vessel and the accident investigation will be issued as circumstances warrant.

  • News

Update: Coast Guard finds life ring from El Faro

The El Faro, a 790-foot roll on, roll off, cargo ship, departed Jacksonville, Florida, Sept. 29, en route to San Juan.

At about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, VA, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion, and had a 15-degree list. The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.

No further communications have been received from the vessel

A Coast Guard HC-130 search and rescue crew from Air Station Clearwater, Florida, spotted the life ring 120 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas. A Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter crew recovered the life ring and confirmed it belonged to the missing ship.

Search and rescue crews have searched more than 30,000 square-miles since Thursday.

Sea conditions in the search area yesterday were reported to be 20 to 40-feet with winds in excess to 100 knots. Visibility for search and rescue flying between 500 and 1,000 feet was reported to be less than one nautical mile at times.

Tim Nolan, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, issued the following statement regarding ongoing efforts to locate and communicate with the El Faro and her crew:

“This morning TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s second ship, the El Yunque, and a contracted tugboat reached the area between the last known vicinity of the El Faro and the location that the Coast Guard recovered a life ring yesterday and carried out a visual survey.

“The two vessels discovered a container, which appears to be from the El Faro, and observed what appears to be an oil sheen.

“At this time there has been no sighting of the El Faro or any life boats.

“TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico and the Coast Guard remain focused on the continuing  search for the crew.  The contracted tugs as well as other vessels transiting the area are also keeping a lookout for any sign of the ship.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the 33 individuals aboard the ship and their families.  They are our number one priority.”

A Coast Guard pilot searching for the missing containership, near the eye of hurricane Joaquin, recounts the weather conditions Oct. 3, 2015. The Coast Guard has been searching since Oct. 1, after losing communications with the El Faro.

U.S. Coast Guard video

  • News

USCG searches for TOTE ship caught by Hurricane Joaquin


The El Faro, a 735-foot TOTE Maritime RO/RO cargo ship, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, FL. At about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, VA, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion, and had a 15-degree list.

The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 7th District command center in Miami launched an HC-130 aircrew out of Clearwater, FL, to search for the El Faro.

As of this afternoon, Coast Guard watchstanders and rescue crews had still been been unable to reestablish communications with the El Faro crew.

Two Air Force C-130 Hurricane Hunter aircrews attempted to locate and reestablish communications with the El Faro unsuccessfully Thursday. Coast Guard crews remained on scene and continue search efforts today by both air and sea.

At a press conference today Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor said the Coast Guard was pushing its assets to their operational limits in the search for the vessel and the 33 people on board.

Tim Nolan, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico issued the following statement on the incident:

On September 29, the El Faro, one of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s two ships departed Jacksonville en-route to San Juan Puerto Rico.

At the time of the El Faro’s departure, the vessel’s officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin. As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro. The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication.

There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the 33 individuals on board.

We are working to ensure clear and frequent communications with their families and loved ones as we learn more.We have reached out to the families of those impacted and have established open lines of communication to provide them with timely updates. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is working closely with the US Coast Guard and all available resources to establish communication by whatever means possible.

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And soon, the self-driving ship?

JULY 2, 2015 — Google is developing a self-driving car. So are GM, Mercedes and other auto makers. Now Rolls-Royce is to lead a new EUR 6.6 million project that could do

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Segovia and Stratos win MSC satcom contract

Inmarsat subsidiaries Stratos Government Services Inc. (SGSI) and Segovia, Inc. have been awarded a contract worth a potential $315 million for Military Sealift Command’s  Next Generation Wideband (NGW) commercial satellite communications (COMSATCOM)