New Book: INTO THE RAGING SEA

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jimh
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New Book: INTO THE RAGING SEA

Postby jimh » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:38 pm

INTO THE RAGING SEA by Rachel Slade, copyright 2018, first edition published by ECCO, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is a extremely well written account of the sinking of the American container ship EL FARO in the Caribbean Sea on October 1, 2015, with a loss of thirty-three crew.

The loss of the EL FARO was the first major marine casualty involving a large American cargo ship since the sinking of the EDMUND FITZGERALD in 1975 in Lake Superior, the POET in 1980 in the Atlantic, and the MARINE ELECTRIC in 1983 off the coast of Virginia. Although 40 years separate the loss of the EL FARO and the FITZ’ there are many similarities in the circumstances that led to the sinking and loss of all hands:

—an old ship in poor condition, marked with new load lines that significantly increased allowed loading and draft compared to the original design limits;

—lack of working basic instrumentation such as a depth sounder or anemometer;

—a ship’s Master who had too much bravado and took risks with weather and seas;

—a shipping company exerting pressure to maintain schedules and fast speeds;

—misleading weather forecasting; and,

—an unusual and dangerous storm.

The most intriguing difference: aboard the EL FARO was a voice data recorder (VDR) that recorded six separate microphones on the bridge, with capacity to store more than 24-hours of conversation.

The VDR was recovered from the wreck of the EL FARO, and was found intact and functional, and containing 26-hours of recorded audio from the bridge. The NTSB went to extensive lengths to listen to and then accurately transcribe the conversations, producing over 500-pages of dialogues. As a result, author Slade has very skillfully recreated the actual conversations that took place on the doomed ship in her narrative account, up to the final seconds of the voyage.

My reading preference is for non-fiction, and this account of the EL FARO is exactly that. The author interviews dozens of experts and principles in the event, quotes testimony from the extensive NTSB and USCG joint hearings, and provides the reader with a clear and complete understanding of this tragedy.

I highly recommend this just-published book to anyone interested in a truthful and accurate account of how the EL FARO was navigated directly into the eye of a Category-3 hurricane in this modern era of weather forecasting and ship operation.


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Phil T
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Re: INTO THE RAGING SEA

Postby Phil T » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:24 pm

The sinking was extensively covered in my local media with five of the crew being Maine Maritime graduates and the Captain was from Windham, outside of Portland. A true shame.
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jimh
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Re: INTO THE RAGING SEA

Postby jimh » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:00 am

Phil—I am sure you will find this book to be very interesting.

The NTSB and USCG investigations do not assign blame for the events they investigate, they just report what they found in a rather neutral manner. The book is not bound by that ethic, and the author makes it clear to the reader which parties had a causal effect on the outcome. There is shared blame, but it is quite clear which people or which organizations contributed and how they interacted in strange ways to create this major ship loss and the death of 33 people. To use a boxing metaphor, there are no pulled punches. Bad policies and bad decisions have consequences, and those are made clear in the narrative.

dtmackey
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Re: INTO THE RAGING SEA

Postby dtmackey » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:30 pm

Phil T wrote:The sinking was extensively covered in my local media with five of the crew being Maine Maritime graduates and the Captain was from Windham, outside of Portland. A true shame.


Storms that have a personal connection always have heightened interest. Two of my favorite books are The Perfect Storm and 10 Hours Until Dawn. The Perfect Storm was a fishing boat out of Gloucester 10 miles away from where I moor my boat and the 10 Hours Until Dawn, my father knew some of the crew and it all happened right outside the harbor where I lived.

I do not have a personal connection to the book Into The Raging Sea, but it will be on my winter reading list.

Phil - are you from Windham Maine? I have a couple friends in that area that are Whaler guys.

D-

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Phil T
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Re: INTO THE RAGING SEA

Postby Phil T » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:00 am

Aside - D, While I have lived in four states, I have spent the most time in South Portland and the greater Portland area. My nephew has his business in Westbrook. When I go to Maine twice a year, I refer to the trip as going home.
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Mambo Minnow
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Re: New Book: INTO THE RAGING SEA

Postby Mambo Minnow » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:38 pm

This book will be of interest to me since I live in Jacksonville, the homeport of EL FARO.