Coast Guard: Missing ship sank, search for crew ongoing - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Coast Guard: Missing ship sank, search for crew ongoing

Posted: Updated:
Phil Greene, President of TOTE Services & CEO, left, and Tim Nolan, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, right, listen as Anthony Chiarello, President & CEO, TOTE, Inc. speaks about about the missing cargo ship El Faro outside the Seafarer's Internatio Phil Greene, President of TOTE Services & CEO, left, and Tim Nolan, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, right, listen as Anthony Chiarello, President & CEO, TOTE, Inc. speaks about about the missing cargo ship El Faro outside the Seafarer's Internatio
As the sun begins to set as television crews set up their lights while waiting for an update on the crew members aboard the missing cargo ship El Faro outside the Seafarer's International Union hall in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Authorities As the sun begins to set as television crews set up their lights while waiting for an update on the crew members aboard the missing cargo ship El Faro outside the Seafarer's International Union hall in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Authorities
Families have gathered at the Seafarers Union Hall Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla., waiting for news on the crew of 33 aboard the missing cargo ship El Faro. The ship has not been heard from since it lost power and was taking on water in seas Families have gathered at the Seafarers Union Hall Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla., waiting for news on the crew of 33 aboard the missing cargo ship El Faro. The ship has not been heard from since it lost power and was taking on water in seas
Family, union and company officials wait outside the Seafarer's International Union hall, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla., as an intensive search resumed Sunday in the southeastern Bahamas for a U.S. cargo ship with 33 people on board. The shi Family, union and company officials wait outside the Seafarer's International Union hall, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla., as an intensive search resumed Sunday in the southeastern Bahamas for a U.S. cargo ship with 33 people on board. The shi

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Coast Guard said Monday that a U.S. cargo ship carrying 33 people that has been missing since it encountered high winds and heavy seas from Hurricane Joaquin sank, but that planes and ships will continue searching for the missing crew.

Chief Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said the Coast Guard and the owner of the 790-foot container ship El Faro concluded that the vessel sank after debris, containers and an oil sheen were found.

"We're definitely still looking for survivors at this time," Rios said. "It's still a very active search and rescue operation."

Three Coast Guard cutters, two C-130 aircraft, helicopters and a U.S. Navy plane were searching across a wide expanse of Atlantic Ocean near Crooked Island. Another Coast Guard spokesman, David Schulein, said searchers found a significant debris field 88 miles off Samana Cay believed to have come from the El Faro.

The vessel's owner said previously that a container that appears to have come from the ship was found, along with a debris field that included what appeared to be pieces of container. Searchers also spotted an oil sheen and found a life ring from the El Faro.

The El Faro departed from Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 29, when Joaquin was still a tropical storm. The ship had 28 crew members from the United States and five from Poland, and it was heading to Puerto Rico on a regular cargo supply run when it ran into trouble. It was being battered by winds of more than 130 mph and waves of up to 30 feet (9 meters). Contact was lost early Thursday.

The crew reported that the ship had lost power, had taken on water and was listing 15 degrees but that the situation was "manageable," in their last communication on Thursday morning, according toship owner TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico. They have not been heard from since.

Family members of the crew said Sunday that they were trying to remain optimistic as they awaited word of any developments at the Seafarer's International Union hall in Jacksonville. Some sobbed and hugged each other.

"This is torture," Mary Shevory, mother of crew member Mariette Wright.

Shevory, who had come to the union hall from her home in Massachusetts, said her 51-year-old daughter was devoted to her job working on the ship.

"I'm just praying to God they find the ship and bring my daughter and everyone on it home," she said.

Laurie Bobillot's daughter, Danielle Randolph, is a second mate on the El Faro. Bobillot said she was trying not to lose hope.

"We've got to stay positive," said Bobillot, of Rockland, Maine. "These kids are trained. Every week they have abandon-ship drills."

The first sign of the ship, an orange life ring, was found Saturday about 120 miles (193 kilometers) northeast of Crooked Island. That was followed by floating debris and the oil sheen Sunday.

The company has defended its decision to authorize voyage. Crew members were "equipped to handle situations such as changing weather," it said in a statement.

Phil Greene, president and CEO of TOTE Services, Inc., said the captain had been observing the weather patterns and discussed the weather as the El Faro passed its sister ship going in the opposite direction.

Greene said the El Faro has been in service for many years and was built to work in the rough seas off Alaska. "She is a sturdy, rugged vessel that was well maintained and that the crew members were proud of," he said.

____

Associated Press writers Curt Anderson in Miami; Ben Fox in Nassau, Bahamas; and David McFadden in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this story.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.