Monday, 2 November 2015

Wreckage believed to be of doomed ship El Faro which vanished with 33 crew on board found in 15,000ft deep water near where it sunk during Hurricane Joaquin

Wreckage believed to be of the doomed ship El Faro, which sank off the coast of the Bahamas with 33 crew on board, has been found by the US Navy.

Officials said a search team is believed to have found the ship in 15,000ft deep water near its last known position.

The 790ft cargo vessel vanished on October 1 after sailing directly into the path of Hurricane Joaquin following a 'hull breach'.

A statement from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said a US Navy ship used sonar to detect the wreckage, but will need to confirm its identity with a deep ocean search vehicle. It could take up to 15 days to do this.

El Faro's captain called in an emergency before the vessel disappeared saying the ship had lost its engine power, was taking in water and was listing.

The ship, which was slated to be replaced, was on its voyage from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 33 mostly American crewmembers when it sunk.

Investigators said Michael Davidson intended to pass 65 miles from the center of the Category 4 storm, a decision maritime experts said was risky, but then plowed full steam towards it.

Earlier this month debris believed to be from the cargo ship washed ashore on the Bahamas.

Part of a refrigeration unit that was discovered at the edge of a beach on the island of Great Exuma was confirmed to be from the doomed ship.

The tracking number on the large piece of cargo, SEG9028902, proved a match when compared with information found on Tote Maritime’s customer tracking system.

Besides the refrigeration system, other items that possibly came from El Faro have been washing ashore on Exuma and San Salvador, including dozens of containers of body wash and deodorant, shaving cream, syringes and tennis shoes.

The El Faro and its 33 mostly American crew members disappeared October 1 after sailing into the path of Hurricane Joaquin in the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a US-flagged vessel since 1983.

The ship's owner, New Jersey-based Tote Inc, has previously said the loss of propulsion is likely what doomed the ship as it was engulfed by high seas whipped up by Joaquin.

According to the NTSB, electronic distress alerts were received by the US Coast Guard from three separate sources on board El Faro but the Coast Guard never had direct voice communications with the ship.

In a recorded satellite phone call Captain Michael Davidson told the ship's owner he had a 'hull breach' after taking on water in one of the holds, the NTSB said Tuesday.

It said the captain also reported that the ship had lost its main propulsion unit and that engineers could not get it restarted.

Monday 2 November 2015


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