Cargo Ship: Search Abandoned

Published: October 8, 2015

Cargo Ship: Search Abandoned, Share | The U.S. Coast Guard has abandoned the search for a missing container ship but continues to search for any signs of life after the El Faro is presumed to have sunk.

The crew contained 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

At a press conference Monday morning, officials said the vessel is believed to have sunk in the last known position that was recorded on Thursday after it appeared to get caught in Hurricane Joaquin near the central Bahamas late last week.

The 790-foot roar cargo ship and was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Two areas of were found with confirmed debris from El Faro, including a survival suit with human remains.

Had crew members been able to abandon ship, they would have been in the midst of Category 4 hurricane conditions, officials said.

“Those are challenging conditions to survive in,” Captain Mark Fedor said.

Family, union and company officials wait outside the Seafarer’s International Union hall, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Jacksonville, Florida, as an intensive search resumed Sunday in the southeastern Bahamas for a U.S. cargo ship with 33 people on board. The ship has not been heard from since it lost power and was taking on water as it was battered in fierce seas churned up by Hurricane Joaquin. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)

Workers at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received a notification that the El Faro was getting rocked by Hurricane Joaquin. The ship had previously dealt with flooding waters, but they were able to keep it contained.

By the time aircraft attempted to re-locate the ship, the communication had ended.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee, “At the time the ship went missing, Joaquin was churning through the southeastern Bahamas with winds sustained at 125 mph.”

“Seas were observed up to 30 feet along with blinding rain and strong winds,” he added.

Rear Adm. Scott Buschman, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District, receives an update brief for the missing cargo ship El Faro at the Coast Guard 7th District in Miami, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Jon-Paul/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

Recovery efforts to find the missing ship and crew were difficult and nearly impossible as Hurricane Joaquin remained across the Bahamas for a few days. As Joaquin began its track northward over the western Atlantic, search and recovery efforts improved over the weekend.

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