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33 aboard missing cargo ship caught in Hurricane Joaquin

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NEW YORK — A cargo ship with dozens aboard is missing after getting caught in Hurricane Joaquin, according to the U.sS. Coast Guard.

El Faro (MarineTraffic.com)

El Faro (MarineTraffic.com)

El Faro, a 735-foot-long vessel carrying 33 people, was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico when it lost contact with dispatchers around 7:20 a.m. Thursday.

The ship had been taking on water, but the crew reported that the flooding had been contained.

El Faro was initially slated to arrive in San Juan at 5 p.m. Friday.

(Google)

(Google)

Officials from TOTE Maritime, the company that owns the vessel, say they are trying to establish “clear and frequent” communications with the families and loved ones of those on board.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued the following press release about the search:

COAST GUARD SEARCHING FOR CONTAINER SHIP CAUGHT IN HURRICANE JOAQUIN

MIAMI – Coast Guard search and rescue crews are searching for a container ship with 33 crewmembers aboard reported to be caught in Hurricane Joaquin, near Crooked Island, Bahamas.

The El Faro, a 735-foot ro-ro cargo ship, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. At approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list. The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 7th District command center in Miami launched an HC-130 aircrew out of Clearwater, Florida, to search for the El Faro. At this time Coast Guard watchstanders and rescue crews have been unable to reestablish communications with the El Faro crew.

Two Air Force C-130 Hurricane Hunter aircrews attempted to locate and reestablish communications with the El Faro unsuccessfully Thursday. Coast Guard crews remain on scene and will continue search efforts Friday by both air and sea.