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Congressional Panel Takes Up El Faro Inquiry Tuesday

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, the National Transportation Safety Board and U.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 require an act of congress.

Now the House 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 rbenk@wjct.org , 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk

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