Search for El Faro Continues (10/2)


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Following are a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard and (separately) a statement from Tim Nolan, president of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico. The SIU represents the crew members on the El Faro. The union is working closely with TOTE to support the search effort in any way possible. The El Faro’s officers are represented by the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers (AMO).


To access the Coast Guard statement directly on the agency’s website, click HERE


Coast Guard searching for container ship caught in Hurricane Joaquin


MIAMI - Coast Guard search and rescue crews are searching for a container ship with 33 crewmembers aboard reported to be caught in Hurricane Joaquin, near Crooked Island, Bahamas.


The El Faro, a 735-foot ro-ro cargo ship, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida.  At approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list.  The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.


Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 7th District command center in Miami launched an HC-130 aircrew out of Clearwater, Florida, to search for the El Faro.  At this time Coast Guard watchstanders and rescue crews have been unable to reestablish communications with the El Faro crew.


Two Air Force C-130 Hurricane Hunter aircrews attempted to locate and reestablish communications with the El Faro unsuccessfully Thursday. Coast Guard crews remain on scene and will continue search efforts Friday by both air and sea.


Tim Nolan, president of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico:


On September 29, the El Faro, one of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico's two ships, departed Jacksonville en-route to San Juan Puerto Rico. At the time of the El Faro's departure, the vessel's officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin. As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro. The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication. There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications, among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin.


TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico's primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the 33 individuals on board. We are working to ensure clear and frequent communications with their families and loved ones as we learn more.


We have reached out to the families of those impacted and have established open lines of communication to provide them with timely updates. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families.


TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is working closely with the US Coast Guard and all available resources to establish communication by whatever means possible.




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