The owner of a cargo vessel, El Faro, that went missing after sailing into Hurricane Joaquin last Thursday, has shared that the captain actually intended to sail around the system. Their choice was however unsuccessful as it was said that a mechanical failure prevented them from continuing their journey.
President of Tote Services Inc. Phil Greene told the Associated Press that the captain of El Faro, Michael Davidson, who has 20 years’ experience on container ships, planned to sail ahead of the hurricane and he would have had enough room and time to spare. However, an unexpected problem caused the boat to go adrift right in the path of the powerful storm.
“Regrettably, he suffered a mechanical problem with his main propulsion system, which left him in the path of the storm,” Greene said. “We do not know when his engine problems began to occur, nor the reasons for his engine problems.”
Heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Florida, on the 29th of September when Joaquin had a tropical storm status, the container ship was carrying 28 Americans and 5 Polish crew members. Joaquin however intensified quickly as it even bored down on the Bahamas with 130-miles-per-hour winds last Thursday morning. A message from the ship shared that the 735-foot cargo ship had lost propulsion and began taking on water off Crooked Island in the Bahamas. Davidson said the boat was listing, leaning 15 degrees. There was no more contact with the ship after that and there has been no sign of it or its crew.
After it was concluded that the El Faro sank in that area about 15,000 feet of water yesterday, the United States Coast Guard said its operation would no longer be focusing on finding El Faro, but survivors. So far, they have found human remains in one survival suit, other empty suits, a damaged life raft, Styrofoam, wood, cargo, containers, life jackets, life rings, and an oil sheen, among other items, but no signs of life so far.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard will further launch an investigation into why the ship ventured toward the hurricane and how it sank.
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