Missing vessel reported sunk, search for survivors continues

El Faro, the missing containership hit in the Caribbean by Hurricane Joaquin, has been presumed sunk by the US Coast Guard (USCG), which is focusing on finding survivors. One body has been found so far.

Survival suits, life boats and life rafts have been retrieved from the 225-square-mile debris area in the Caribbean Sea. A container and an oil sheen believed to have come from the ship were found on Sunday.

One of the survival suits contained unidentifiable human remains, the USCG told press at a briefing today.

“Our focus is on survivors. That’s our mission,” said Capt. Mark Fedore, the USCG’s chief petty officer.

A crew of 28 American and five Polish nationals were onboard the 17,915-dwt ship, which is presumed to have sunk at its last known location near the Bahamas on Thursday.

US Coast Guard cutters, aircraft and a US Navy plane have already searched a 30,000-square-mile area of the Atlantic Ocean for the missing crew.

On Thursday morning, the USCG in Portsmouth, Virginia received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the ship had been hit by the hurricane and had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list.

The US-flagged ship, belonging to TOTE Maritime, was near Crooked Island, Bahamas, en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida.

The crew had previously reported the ship had taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained. After this time, communications were lost.



Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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