IntoTheStorm contrasts the actions of two skippers in Hurricane Joaquin. One saved his crew. The other didn’t.
Two ships sank during Hurricane Joaquin. On one, all crew were safe and accounted for. The other wasn’t so lucky.
On October 1st, 2015 two ships sank during Hurricane Joaquin, a monster Category-4 storm that devastated several districts of the Bahamas. The 790-foot El Faro tragically went down with all hands, but the crew of the smaller 230-foot Minouche survived thanks to the leadership, critical decisionmaking skills and bravery of both her skipper and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue team flying out of Great Inagua. In Into
The Storm, a recently published book that reads as much like a fast-paced thriller as a straightforward account of what took place aboard each ship just prior to its sinking, Miami-based journalist Tristram Korten offers a host of lessons that will likely prove useful not only to modern shipmasters but to captains of recreational vessels as well.
Korten’s approach is far from heavy-handed. For most of the book he simply hammers out the facts, based on recordings of conversations that took place in the El Faro’s wheelhouse as well as numerous interviews with Coast Guard operatives, survivors and representatives of a variety of investigative entities and agencies.
Some of the facts are flat-out shocking. For example, according to Korten, although the El Faro was within a few miles of the storm’s eye during the early hours of October 1st, with no propulsion, a wicked list and 30- to 40-foot seas downflooding her holds, Capt. Michael Davidson (an aloof “cabin captain” who’d ignored the weather-related concerns of two junior officers) did not send a distress message to the Coast Guard until