SS El Faro - A Tribute to the Unsung Heroes

Photo by Liz Gotthelf -  Journal Tribune

Photo by Liz Gotthelf - Journal Tribune

On October 1st 2015 Hurricane Joaquin took down the SS El Faro cargo ship along with the lives of 33 people. This tragic event ranks as one of the worst Maritime disasters in the United States history.

Sophia Meyer, a 16-year-old Thornton Academy student from Maine became interested in the El Faro after reading an article about a year ago. She wanted to learn more and decided to research the El Faro for the 2019 History Day Contest. In her research she found out there was an additional ship the SS Matsonia. Liz Gotthelf wrote an article posted by the Journal Tribune on February 18th 2019 highlighting Sophia’s research. I was impressed by this 16 year Old’s desire to learn about the Maritime industry and I wanted to get an interview with her. Only days after Liz Gotthelf’s article was posted about Sophia’s research, the Matsonia was discovered to have a crack in it’s hull. On February 28th, 2019 I was lucky enough to get Sophia on the phone and had the following interview. You can listen directly on the web by clicking on the player above or listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Photo credit American Maritime Officer

Photo credit American Maritime Officer

When the El Faro sank, it devastated not only the 33 family members who lost their loved ones at sea, it also affected the extended family of merchant mariners and the entire Maritime Industry.  SUNY Maritime Alumni Richard Pusatere, one of the Chief Engineers aboard the El Faro, would have turned 38 this year on August 22. I didn’t know Richard but I had the opportunity of speaking with his Father, Frank Pusatere.  After our conversation and this interview I realized the magnitude of talent that was lost the day that ship sank. Richard graduated SUNY Maritime College in 2003 and stayed working with steam vessels for approximately 9 months each year up until that tragic event in October of 2015. I dedicate this podcast to Richard and the entire crew that was lost at sea.