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El Faro Is Reported Missing

By John A. C. Cartner

Editor's Note:
In production of ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Dr. Cartner bases his perspectives and viewpoints on the facts and information available at the time of production.
During the production of the most recent October 8, 2015 ‘Conversations with Cartner’ interview regarding the tragic sinking of the El Faro, Dr. Cartner made the following statements.

“There wouldn’t have been a riding crew out there doing engine work if she hadn’t had engine problems before.”
“She was an old ship, an old steam ship, and old steam ships often have riding crews going along to fix things.”

Since the posting of the October 8, 2015 ‘Conversations with Cartner’, Maritime TV has been contacted by a Tote Marine Services public relations representative to request a correction regarding these statements, which Dr. Cartner has agreed to do. Dr. Cartner acknowledges the correction statement from the company representative which is posted here.

“In preparation for transferring to the West Coast, contractors on board were carrying out preparation work, such as running electrical cable for modifications to meet the cargo needs for that trade. These modifications had no association with the integrity or propulsion of the vessel.”

As we state in every distribution of this program, the opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.
However, both Dr. Cartner and Maritime TV are committed to basing any commentary on the most relevant and up-to-date facts as they become available on any issue Dr. Cartner addresses and we will continue to do so in our continuing coverage of the El Faro tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with families of the missing El Faro Crew members.




El Faro Is Reported Missing

The El Faro has apparently sunk with the loss of all hands.  We have lost the master, eight licensed engineers, four technicians and 20 ratings. The armchair critics are sounding off in their Lazy Boys in front of their televisions.  A plaintiff lawyer who reportedly has a maritime license but has never sailed master has opined that the company should never have been running a ship of that age  -- especially a lengthened one.  An unknown woman has averred that Capt. Davidson sailed to get a bonus.  A man has expressed his belief that companies should not direct ships to sail into storms. Another has said that the master was “stupid and foolish” to do what he did – which the commentator has not defined – nor has the commentator told us his credentials to comment on the sinking or to make vicious personal attacks. A Greek master has stated that “no container ship can survive a hurricane.” Having done so I can tell you that it is doable.  And, El Faro was not a container ship, by the way. Perhaps that master has not sailed in bad weather.

All that being said, it is time for the peanut gallery to be quiet. the company has also asked that the speculation dampen until facts are found. This is a wise call. I will add that the corporation bashing has already begun. I can assure those who are reading that those who work in the company ashore are as shaken and saddened as anyone else related to this casualty.

The company has expressed concern about the engine repairs going on with a riding crew. It has also said that it had the power to veto the master’s decision to sail. Apparently Capt. Davidson talked with his colleague on the northbound vessel which reported that the weather was not all that bad. The path for the ship and its last imputed speed was 109 degrees and 19 knots. Keeping 19 knots would not be practicable in a heavy bow sea. The vessel was in the usual outside passage implying that looking ahead did not appear to be that dangerous. 


The opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.

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John A. C. Cartner

John A. C. CartnerJohn A. C. Cartner

Dr. John A. C. Cartner practices maritime law domestically and internationally. He is designated Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States and is member of other state maritime law associations.

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1 comments on article "El Faro Is Reported Missing"

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RVC

10/16/2015 8:12 PM

While the sinking is unfortunate, the $100Million lawsuit may not be real incentive to keep a vessel under US Flag. High profile U.S. lawyers love to feast on these incidents for both profit and publicity. This will be an interesting case of Unseaworthiness vs Act of God.

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Maritime TV 'Conversations with Cartner'
A weekly discussion on maritime industry issues of the day with Shipmaster and Maritime Lawyer, Dr. John A.C. Cartner.


The opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.

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