All of us in HELMEPA, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the cargo ship
“El Faro”, which was caught in the eye of powerful hurricane Joaquin on October 2, 2015.
Such extraordinary events are a stark reminder of the extreme forces of nature that seafarers around the world might have to face while conducting their daily operations.
On behalf of our Association’s members, 15, 000 Greek seafarers and 200 companies and organizations in Greece and abroad, we wish to express our deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the victims of this catastrophic event.
We monitor the extensive efforts of Search and Rescue by the United States Coast Guard and we can not but commend on the operations conducted under challenging weather conditions.
Contingency planning to respond to emergency situations, cooperation of all stakeholders and continuous refresher training of the human element in shipping are the means available to best prepare for adverse situations. But still, the power of nature that a vessel can face when found into the path of a hurricane Category 4 can unfortunately be overwhelmingly challenging.