by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | October 3, 2015 12:50 pm
This is just tragic. Hurricane Joaquin was only a tropical storm when they set sail. The El Faro was traveling from Florida to Puerto Rico with a load of cars, I believe. As of just a few hours ago, the ship with 33 crew members aboard, has still not been found. The last time they sent out a distress signal was early Thursday. They were taking on water, but were able to plug the leaks. They had lost power and the storm was upon them. There are 28 Americans and five Polish citizens aboard that ship. The captain is 53 year-old Michael Davidson, who is very experienced and sea capable. His wife firmly believes he’s waiting out the storm to come home. I fear she is being overly optimistic.
From the Daily Mail:
The wife of the Captain of the missing cargo ship, El Faro, has spoken of her belief that her husband is simply ‘waiting out’ the storm and that he and his crew will be recovered safely.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail Online from her home in Wyndham, Maine, Theresa Davidson, 49, said: ‘My husband is extremely capable, he has extensive training.
‘If anyone can handle a situation like that it’s my husband so we are hopeful that he’s just waiting it out and that they’ll be rescued today.’
The US coastguard is still searching for El Faro captained by Michael Davidson, 53, since losing contact with the vessel at 7.30 on Thursday morning when the ship and its 33 crew members vanished in Hurricane Joaquin.
The car carrier is believed to be close to the eye of the storm and disappeared north of the Bahamas after setting sail from Florida destined for San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 28 Americans and three Polish crew on board.
Shortly before losing contact, the Coast Guard said the vessel sent out a distress call reporting that it had lost power, had been overcome by the storm and was taking on water.
News of the ship’s disappearance came as Hurricane Joaquin continued to batter the Bahamas with winds of up to 125mph.
On Friday night officials from ship owners Tote Services and Tilt Co met with families of the crew.
Antony Chiarello, president of Tilt said: ‘We have met with as many families in person as we could that have loved ones on board the vessel El Faro.’
According to ActionNewsJax.com the meeting was an emotional one for the families as they wait for answers with some now asking why the ship departed at all.
Tote has insisted that Hurricane Joaquin was classified only as a tropical storm when the vessel set sail on 29 September.
Phil Greene, with Tote Services said: ‘I think the most critical importance for us is that we share as much information as we have, that we’re as upfront about the situations as we possibly can be.’
Tote is not naming any of the crew at this point.
Hurricane Joaquin has left thousands of people without power, closed schools, and trapped dozens of people in their homes, according to local authorities.
Strong winds whipped up by Joaquin have been battering the islands since yesterday, and experts warn that the slow-moving storm is not expected to leave the region until tomorrow.
Places such as Long Island and Acklins have already reported flooding due to storm surge, according to The Weather Channel, while trees have been uprooted and some homes destroyed.
The full extent of the damage will not be known until Joaquin moves away to the north tomorrow when emergency crews are allowed into the area.
Meanwhile the U.S. Coast Guard says it has launched two C-130 Hercules aircraft in order to search for the 735-foot El Faro, which is thought to be adrift somewhere in the Pacific.
According to a Coast Guard press release, the El Faro messaged at 7.30am yesterday to say it was beset by Hurricane Joaquin and had lost propulsion.
The crew also said the boat had been taking on water, but they had managed to contain the leaks.
El Faro was also listing at 15 degrees, the Coast Guard said, likely made worse by the 391 containers it was carrying above deck and the 294 cars, trucks and trailers in its hold.
Without working engines, the ship will be at the mercy of waves that were reported to be between 22ft and 30ft high, the height of a three story house.
In the Bahamas, there have been no reports of fatalities or injuries from Joaquin yet, said Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.
Residents reached by relatives said they were ‘trapped in their homes, and reported feeling as if their structures were caving in,’ Russell said.
‘It’s too dangerous to go outside because the flood waters are so high, so we ask that persons stay inside and try to go into the most secure place of their home.’
Power also was knocked out to several islands, and Leslie Miller, executive chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, said the company ‘is in no position to do much’ to restore electricity.
‘All the airports are flooded,’ he said.
Schools, businesses and government offices were closed as the slow-moving storm roared through the island chain.
The Hurricane Center said parts of the Bahamas could see storm surge raising sea levels 6 to 12 feet above normal, with 12 to 18 inches of rain falling in the central Bahamas.
Authorities in the nearby Turks & Caicos Islands closed all airports, schools and government offices.
Around 850 square nautical miles were searched on Friday and the effort resumed at dawn Saturday. Joaquin became a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday with 130 mile an hour winds and 30 feet sea swells. This is a very slow storm. Joaquin remained a Category 3 hurricane early Saturday and by 5 a.m. ET was centered about 120 miles northeast of San Salvador, Bahamas, and about 700 miles southwest of Bermuda. It had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph and was moving northeast at 13 mph. Many ships have disappeared forever in the Bermuda Triangle. Let’s hope that the El Faro is not one of them and that the crew is found safe and sound. Right now, it does not look good.
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