They have cried together, questioned, and sat through weeks of government hearings about the disaster that killed 33 mariners caught in a hurricane as the cargo ship sailed from
Finally last week, they had, in a way, something to cheer.
After months of start-and-stop discussion, both houses of
The bill was an answer to dozens of changes the
"The families of the El Faro crew deserve much of the credit" for the bill's success, said
The fact that the protections weren't in place already hangs over families of the seafarers who have come to be called the El Faro 33.
"I feel like this tragedy would never have happened" if the changes had been made earlier, said
The nonprofit Hamm launched to advocate for seafarer safety, Hamm Alert, is commemorated in a title in the bill, the Hamm Alert Maritime Safety Act of 2018.
The El Faro was near the
Finding the sunken hull took searchers a month.
A particularly painful fact of the disaster was that only one body was ever found, wearing a flotation suit, and the search crew that located it left it at sea to chase another report of a possible survivor.
To avoid repeats of that situation, the bill requires oceangoing ships to be outfitted with distress signals and equipment to locate each crew member lost at sea. The bill also tells the
Another part of the bill requires the
Other sections require changes to safety systems on board ship and an effort to negotiate changes to an international agreement created through the
But other changes that
"I am grateful for the efforts made to increase safety ... but the bill could have done much more," said
New ships use enclosed lifeboats but the
The bill tells the
A separate part would require advanced training for
Those ideas were touted as fixes to lapses perpetuated by routinely low funding of the agency's inspection arm.
"This legislation requires the
Zukunft said after the El Faro investigations that the alternative compliance system "requires reform." The bill calls for the
Separate from the bill, the
The bill also tells the
Another treaty change the bill seeks through the
The bill also wants a change in the same agreement -- the
The El Faro crew received satellite updates on Joaquin's movement, but an
The bill lays out deadlines for carrying out changes and repeatedly reporting results to
While that unfolds gradually, people close to the El Faro crew will keep adapting to life after the disaster, holding the ship and crew in their hearts.
Hamm formally incorporated Hamm Alert in June and said she'd wants to grow the organization to be able to work with mariner families internationally.
"This has become my life. This is my baby," she said of Hamm Alert's work. "This is important for me."
Recently, she was invited to the home of another mariner,
Frazier, a Realtor who was previously an
"That's from the heart," Frazier said of the image of the ship in storm-tossed waters.
A figure hovers overhead, pointing. It's the spirit of an engineer who died after a heart attack onboard in 2014, Frazier said.
He's pointing the crew toward land.
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