Can a Captain Get Fired for Reporting Safety Concerns About His Ship?

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Yes says the Ex-Elfara Ship Captain, he testified Tuesday that he was fired after reporting safety concerns about his ship.

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Capt. Jack Hearn, a cargo ship captain who worked for the company that owned the doomed freighter El Faro, testified before a U.S. Coast Guard panel in Jacksonville that is investigating the 41-year-old El Faro’s sinking in a hurricane last October.

Hearn, who sailed the El Faro’s sister ship, the El Morro, said that after he raised concerns about holes in his own ship, Tote reluctantly reported them to the Coast Guard — but only after he took a trip without the needed repairs.

“The port engineer did not report (the holes) to the Coast Guard.  I was disappointed,” he said.  Back ashore, the holes were reported and addressed eventually, he said.

He said his relationship with the port engineers became strained after the incident.

Weeks later, Hearn said, a Tote official came onboard and asked him to resign and get help finding a new job, or be fired.

Eventually, Hearn said, he asked the company to investigate the matter.  He said he was fired before entering into arbitration with Tote.

Tote’s attorneys at the hearing reportedly did not address Hearn’s testimony.

Source: Associated Press

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