October 2015, a loaded cargo ship called the “El Faro” set sail from Florida to Puerto Rico. But the ship was on a deadly collision course with a powerful category 3 storm: Hurricane Joaquin.

The voice recorder revealed that the captain did not realize the severity of the storm until it was too late. Everyone on board died.

Rochelle Hamm’s husband, Frank was one of the 33 on board.Despite the grief, Hamm started lobbying lawmakers to change the rules out at sea

The change finally came in 2018, when Congress passed a law.  The Hamm Alert Maritime Safety Act of 2018 was passed by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the United States in June, and by the US Senate on September 26.


Cargo ships will be required to receive timely weather forecasts, including alerts for hurricanes. They’ll need emergency gear with location beacons and an anonymous system where crew members can report problems.

Rochelle Hamm was able to  channel her immeasurable heartache to the immense strength needed to elicit positive change by founding Hamm Alert Foundation.  Her mission is to educate and advocate for safety rules at sea, ensure all standards are being met for safety of sea personnel and provide support for those affect by tragedy at sea through mental, financial, academic and economic success.