JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Harrowing accounts in the El Faro crew’s own words were captured in the voyage data recorder audio transcripts released by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The 510-page transcript details discussing among the crew regarding weather, routes, even the industry in general.
At one moment, the microphones captured one able seaman talking about how he avoided speaking out at safety meetings to not be labeled a “trouble maker” saying “that's how I've learned to keep my mouth shut at those safety meetings– man. They don't want to hear anything you got to say, so don't say anything.”
The lashing of the cargo was also a concern for some crew members, according to the transcript. At 10:21 p.m. the night before the sinking, 3rd mate Jeremie Riehm is heard saying “we left port without -- expecting any weather. That's why we didn't ask the longshoremen for storm lashes. Which we should have.”
At 7:29 a.m. the morning of the sinking, the 2nd mate Danielle Randolph reported that containers were in the water. Moments later, the captain rang the abandon ship alarm.
Hours before, Randolph made a now chilling comment. At 1:40 a.m. she said “usually people don't take the whole – survival suit – safety meeting thing very seriously. I think today would be a good day – for the fire and boat drill.”
At times, the captain and chief mate questioned their job security and said they were on the "chopping block." Randolph was also heard questioning whether or not the company valued the hard work of an engineer saying “obviously it's gotten you nowhere with this company – they don't appreciate it.”
A third and final Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation is expected next year.
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