Maritime Log #37 Speaker will discuss calamity in Atlantic on Saturday, April 27

By Dyke Hendrickson, Custom House Maritime Museum Outreach Historian

The Newburyport Literary Festival takes place this week (April 26-27), and one intriguing nautical presentation will be from author Rachel Slade, who wrote “Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm and the Sinking of El Faro.” She will speak at the Old South Church at 9 a.m. Saturday. I am the moderator. Slade, former editor of Boston magazine, will discuss the sinking of El Faro in 2015. The 800-foot cargo tanker went down off Puerto Rico, and all 33 on board perished. It is a riveting story, in part because the “black box” from the cockpit was found – 15,000 feet under the Atlantic. The author thus had access to conversation in the last hours in the command center, when junior officers realized they were on a course bound for disaster. The captain made egregious errors, and thus 33 died. The ship, which carried hundreds of cargo containers and automobiles, went down so fast the Coast Guard never found the vessel or a survivor. On the subject of the Coast Guard, I (Dyke Hendrickson) am speaking Saturday at 11 a.m. in City Hall on the research for my upcoming book, “New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Mariners.” Please join us.

If your organization would like me to speak at an event, please get in touch. I can be reached at