Honoring the memory of 33 lost on El Faro

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October 1, 2020 marked five years since the last word from the El Faro, the U.S.-flagged ship lost to Hurricane Joaquin Northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas while en route from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico.

This tragic last voyage claimed the lives of all 33 men and women aboard the ship, including 11 members of American Maritime Officers, 17 members of the Seafarers International Union and five Polish nationals comprising the riding gang on the ship, which was operated in this specific Jones Act market by TOTE Services.

The AMO members lost on El Faro were Captain Michael Davidson, Chief Engineers Richard Pusatere and Jeffrey Mathias, Chief Mate Steven Shultz, First Assistant Engineer Keith Griffin, Second Mate Danielle Randolph, Second Assistant Engineer Howard Schoenly, Third Mate Jeremie Riehm and Third Assistant Engineers Michael Holland, Mitchell Kuflik and Dylan Meklin.

We remain comforted by the certainty that the El Faro officer and crew complement worked as one against terrible odds, and that they did so with focus, not fear, each faithful to the traditions of courage and character that have distinguished American merchant mariners in all economic and defense services since the Revolution.

We hold warm thoughts for the survivors of these El Faro mariners - parents, spouses, children and fianc?s. These equally extraordinary men and women helped each other endure the nearly weeklong search for the ship while gathered at the SIU hall in Jacksonville, bracing for the daily updates from the U.S. Coast Guard - may we all live by their collective example.

Paul Doell
October 1, 2020

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