Coast Guard hearing set for El Faro sinking

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct a Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship.

The hearing, beginning Feb. 16 and expected to last until Feb. 26, will focus on the events leading to the disappearance of the 790-foot freighter off the coast of the Bahamas during a hurricane last year, including the ship’s regulatory compliance record and the duties and qualifications of crew members, the Coast Guard said.

The hearing will take place at the Prime F. Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville.

As the investigation continues, the Coast Guard says the ship’s voyage, cargo loading, weather conditions and navigation will be examined in detail.

Four of the 33 sailors aboard the ship were from Southwest Florida: Howard Schoenly, Jeremy Riehm, Steven Shultz and Keith Griffin.

Families of some of the crewmembers have filed negligence lawsuits against Tote Maritime, the company that owns the ship. Ten families of the ill-fated crew members recently reached settlements of $500,000 each with the company.

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