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Congressional Panel Takes Up El Faro Inquiry Tuesday

El Faro hull underwater
The National Transportation Safety Board

Another fact-finding expedition into why Jacksonville-based cargo ship El Faro sank in the Caribbean two years ago is set to take place Tuesday, this time in Congress.

After extensive hearings in Jacksonville and Washington, theNational Transportation Safety Board andU.S. Coast Guard have blamed the sinking and death of 33 crew members on a combination of a lax corporate safety culture, inadequate ship inspections and poor decisions by Captain Michael Davidson.

Both groups recommend doing away with an exemption for older ships that allows them to use open lifeboats instead of modern, covered models. That would requirean act of congress.

Now theHouse Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will continue the inquiry, beginning at 10 Tuesday morning.

A committee spokesman tells WJCT News that Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) is interested in potential legislation.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.