Ship missing: US Coast Guard Search Cargo Ship

Published: October 2, 2015

Ship missing: US Coast Guard Search Cargo Ship, The US Coast Guard said on Friday it was searching for a 224-metre cargo ship with 33 crew aboard reported to be caught in powerful Hurricane Joaquin near Crooked Island, Bahamas.

The container ship El Faro was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Florida when the Coast Guard received a satellite notification that the ship had lost propulsion and was listing heavily. The crew reported flooding had been contained.

The Coast Guard has dispatched a search and rescue aircraft from Clearwater, Florida and was seeking to contact the ship.

Joaquin, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, is about 65 km south-southwest of San Salvador, Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 215 km/h.
It has started bringing swells to parts of the southeastern coast of the United States, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Slow-moving Hurricane Joaquin pounded the Bahamas for a second day with powerful winds and waves on Friday but it was not expected to be a major threat to the US East Coast, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

A westerly shift in the forecast track of Joaquin spared the Carolinas, New York and New Jersey, where Sandy killed more than 120 people and caused $US70 billion of property damage in October 2012.

“The forecast models continue to indicate a track farther away from the United States east coast and the threat of direct impacts from Joaquin in the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states appears to be decreasing” rhe NHC said.

Despite the more favourable outlook, the NHC said Joaquin could still cause flooding from South Carolina to New England.

The Miami-based NHC said the hurricane, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm on a scale of 1 to 5, was poised to make a sharp northerly turn on Friday.

The governors of New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland all declared states of emergency and announced various measures, including the mobilisation of National Guard troops, in preparation for the storm .

“I cannot stress enough that we are talking about the real possibility of deadly flooding in many areas around our state,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told a news conference on Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from the Bahamas but photos posted on social media on Aklins and Long Island showed major flooding with roads under water and waves washing against the walls of houses.

Schools and business were closed on several islands as residents prepared for the storm.

“People are all getting ready, shuttering up their houses, going to the store for plywood,” said Chris Gosling who runs a voluntary ambulance service in Eleuthera, population 8000.

At 11 pm, the NHC said the storm was moving west at only 5 km/h.

Joaquin’s hurricane-force winds, which extended 80 km from its centre, were forecast to miss the larger Bahamas islands and the main cities and cruise ship ports of Freeport and Nassau.

Storm surges will push water as high as 1.5 to 3 metres above normal tide levels in the central Bahamas, the NHC said, with up to 51 cm of rain possible in some areas.

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