The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a cargo ship with 33 people aboard after it went missing in the central Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin this week.
The El Faro, a 735-foot container ship, was headed for Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Florida, Thursday morning, when it disappeared during the hurricane. The Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Virginia reported that it received a notification that the ship had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list, a Coast Guard release said.
An air crew was sent from Clearwater to search for the ship, and two Air Force C-130 Hurricane hunter aircrews were also involved. The search by air and water continued Friday.
A Coast Guard spokesperson told Fox News
the cargo ship is carrying 294 trailers and automobiles in the hold, and 391 shipping containers on deck, in a hurricane that has produced 20- to 30-foot seas.
The ship is owned by TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico and, in a statement, the company said it is communicating
with family members of the missing crewmen to keep them up-to-date on the situation.
The Coast Guard also rushed to rescue 12 mariners who had to abandon their sinking cargo ship during Hurricane Joaquin, a release said.
Located northwest of Haiti, the ship began listing and a distress signal was sent out. A Coast Guard cutter and a helicopter crew were deployed, along with a good Samaritan vessel that's part of the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, a world-wide system managed by the Coast Guard and commonly called an AMVER
. All 12 mariners were found about 10:30 p.m. Thursday and were safe on board the AMVER.
The Weather Channel reported Friday afternoon
that Hurricane Joaquin's path no longer was taking it toward U.S. landfall, although precautionary warnings about coastal flooding remain in place.
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