Sea Tragedies

Fascination with the sea and the dangers associated with sea travel continue to grab the attention of the public even in the 21st century. A few sea tragedies have become part of folklore, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the Edmund Fitzgerald. It may be that the sinking of the El Faro can be added to that list.

Retired Hammond businessman Dave Berwick spent six years in the U.S. Merchant Marine, traveling the world by sea and experiencing the dangers and “close calls” that are part of a mariner’s life. So it was with great interest that Berwick followed the saga of the El Faro as, in 2015, the big merchant ship put up a valiant but futile fight against a powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane. The U.S. Coast Guard issued a report late last year on the sinking of the El Faro. Basically, the report says the captain underestimated the strength of the hurricane and overestimated the strength of the ship. At 8:10 p.m. Sept. 29, 2015, the El Faro left the Port of Jacksonville, Fla., en route to Puerto Rico.

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