Search for El Faro called off

The US Coast Guard (USCG) is to call off the search for survivors from El Faro, the Tote Maritime containership presumed sunk in the Caribbean by Hurricane Joaquin.

Forces have been searching for the 28 American and five Polish crew members onboard the vessel for the past six days. On Sunday, unidentifiable human remains were found within a survival suit alongside other floating debris.

“The coast guard did everything imaginable. They wanted so badly to bring our family members back to us,” Deb Roberts, mother of missing crew member Mike Holland, told the USA’s WMTW TV. “If they were out there, they would have found them.”

The US National Transportation Safety Board is to lead the investigation into what caused the apparent sinking of El Faro, which appears to have been caused by failure of the ship’s engine close to the eye of the storm.

In the US, government procedures mandate a relatively prompt start to the public hearings, as observed by industry commentator Clay Maitland, writing for Splash on the El Faro ‘blame game’ today.

Tote Maritime executives told press yesterday that, had the engine not failed, the vessel would have been able to navigate its way out of the storm.

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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