Transportation Safety Board issued 10 safety recommendations Thursday aimed at
enhancing the availability of weather information to mariners.
The goal of the
recommendations, which include improving weather forecasting methods and
increasing the frequency of certain advisories and alerts, is to improve the
accuracy of hurricane and tropical cyclone forecasts and make them more
accessible to voyage planners and at-sea mariners.
“As we enter the
2017 hurricane season we are reminded of the power and devastation associated
with these storms,” said NTSB Acting
Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “Storm avoidance is a life-saving skill at
sea. And having frequent, up-to-date and reliable weather information is
key to effective storm avoidance – and to saving lives.”
recommendations stem from the NTSB’s ongoing
investigation of the October 2015 sinking of the cargo ship El Faro near the Bahamas
as the ship sailed close to the eye of Hurricane Joaquin. After noting how
Hurricane Joaquin and several other major storms had significantly deviated
from their forecasts, investigators determined a new emphasis on improving
tropical cyclone forecasting was warranted.
The eye of
Hurricane Joaquin is visible in the lower left corner of this image taken from
the International Space Station Oct. 2, 2015. (Photo by NASA)
The NTSB typically
releases safety recommendations at the conclusion of an investigation but can
issue them at any point in the investigative process.
“We are getting
these recommendations out as the hurricane season begins so that the work on
these safety improvements can start immediately,” said Sumwalt.
The El Faro
investigation is expected to be completed later this year when investigators
will present their findings to NTSB Members who will determine the accident’s
probable cause and contributing factors in a public meeting in Washington, D.C.
The NTSB also issued a Safety
Alert advising mariners of
available weather forecast products and alerts that can help in assessing the
track and severity of hazardous weather systems. The Safety
Alert is available online