Journalist Publishes El Faro Book

El Faro

By The Maritime Executive 10-06-2018 09:09:10

Robert R. Frump has authored a newly-released book on the El Faro tragedy titled: The Captains of Thor: What Really Caused the Loss of the SS El Faro in Hurricane Joaquin.

The vessel sank on October 1, 2015 with the loss of all 33 mariners aboard. 

Frump says: “My main goal here is to show how the SS El Faro fit into a larger system and culture - one that I have been covering off and on as a journalist and author for 38 years. It’s this system, I feel, that will result in another SS El Faro someday unless it is reformed.”

Frump is a nationally recognized journalist who won several major awards while a journalist and investigative reporter at The Philadephia Inquirer. He grew up in the small farm town of Paxton, Ill, graduated from the University of Illinois and received a master’s degree from Northwestern University — all in journalism. He received, with Tim Dwyer, the George Polk Award, for his reporting on unsafe U.S. ships, and the Gerald Loeb Award for National Business Reporting. He was also the anchor writer of an Inquirer task force that won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the former managing editor of The Journal of Commerce.

In February, the NTSB released its final report on the El Faro tragedy. Like the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, the NTSB concluded that the accident was attributable to the master's decision to sail into Hurricane Joaquin, the vessel operator's "weak" safety culture and a poor implementation of Bridge Resource Management principles. 

NTSB also noted technical problems with machinery design standards for sustained angle of inclination, a central factor in the El Faro's loss of lube oil suction and loss of propulsion; the limited protection of fire mains from impact damage in the event of a cargo shift, which was a likely factor in the flooding of El Faro's Hold 3; and the inadequacy of El Faro's antiquated open life boats, which were unlikely to be of assistance in a hurricane. 

More information about the findings is available here.