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El Faro Cargo Ship Sinks, Search Continues for 33 US & Polish Missing Passengers

Flickr.com/Oliver Clarke

The search continues for the missing El Faro Cargo Ship with 33 crew members on board. The ship is believed to have sunk in the path of Hurricane Joaquin.

The 790-foot ship left Jacksonville Florida on Sept. 29 and was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, NBC News reports. The captain even reported “a good weather” and “that his crew was prepared.”

After one hour and a half after the ship left, Hurricane Joaquin, which had winds of 85 mph, was moving closer to Bahamas and also nearing El Faro’s path.

The last contact made with the ship was on October 1 when a crew reported that the ship had “lost its power.”

As the ship has been missing since Thursday, the US Coast Guard said that they are “not looking for the vessel anymore.” They have instead focused their search in finding survivors.

Coast Guard Captain Mike Fedor told NBC News, “if the vessel did sink on Thursday, and that crew was able to abandon ship they would have been abandoning ship in a Category 4 hurricane,” Fedor said. “Those are challenging conditions to survive.”

However, Fedor addressed the possibility of finding survivors as the crew are “trained mariners.”

“We’re not going to discount somebody’s will to survive,” Fedor mentioned in NBC News report.

During their search on Sunday, Fedor said that one “unidentifiable body” wearing a survival suit was found in the “225-square-mile debris field of wood and cargo.”

As only one body has been found within debris that searchers “believe came from the ship”, The Atlantic reports that it is unlikely and “exceptionally rare” for a large ship like El Faro to sink.

The El Faro Cargo Ship was built in 1975 and is said to have a gross tonnage of 31, 515.

“El Faro was much older than the average container ship worldwide” but the owner claims that the ship “was in good condition and suited to rough weather because she was built for Alaskan trade.”

The Atlantic report mentions that it would be too early to tell what went wrong in El Faro Cargo Ship as it is “uncommon” for cargo ships to sink.

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