JACKSONVILLE (WGME) - A weather instrument to measure wind strength and direction on El Faro was broken, according to second mate Charles Baird.
The former crew member told the Coast Guard Marine Board investigating the sinking of the ship that the anemometer had not worked for two to three months.
"Do you think that's a critical piece of equipment," CDR Mike Odom, Marine Board member, asked Baird.
"It's an added piece of equipment, but I wouldn't hold the ship up ... I could get the (wind) direction but not the speed as accurate," Baird answered.
Baird was last on the ship, he said, two to three weeks before El Faro sank near the Bahamas during a trip from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico when the ship sailed into the path of Hurricane Joaquin and lost engine power.
When pressed by an attorney representing the owner and operator of the ship, TOTE, Inc., Baird said it is possible the equipment could have been fixed after he left the ship before the sinking of El Faro with 33 crew members on board, including Mainers Captain Michael Davidson and crew members Dylan Meklin, Danielle Randolph, and Michael Holland.