A subscription weather service received by El Faro prior to its fateful final journey carried information that was at least 10 hours out of date, the hearing into the vessel’s sinking heard on Wednesday.
El Faro sank with the loss of all 33 crew on October 1 last year when it was caught in Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas.
The outdated weather report it received on September 30 before departure from Jacksonville, Florida, meant that when they set off nobody on board had an inkling of what would become Hurricane Joaquin the next day.
El Faro, headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a cargo of cars, would lose propulsive power before going down.
The US Coast Guard’s (USCG) Marine Board of Investigation is in the third day of its second round of hearings into the disaster, the first having been conducted in February. Both hearings have been in Jacksonville.
One of the main things this round of hearings is trying to determine is how the ship got caught in the hurricane.
Officials for Applied Weather Technology (AWT), the forecast subscription service, told the board on Wednesday that it receives forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS) which it inputs into a system called Bon Voyage.
Even in the best of circumstances it could take three hours for the NWS to put out a forecast and several hours more for AWT to input the data to Bon Voyage.
But AWT officials told the panel that an anomaly with the forecast sent to El Faro did not include updated track information for the storm.
This was a day after the Board heard James Franklin, branch chief of the National Hurricane Centre hurricane specialist unit, say his body’s initial forecasts relating to what became Joaquin, contained significant errors.
Source: Donal Scully /splash247.com