Early Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard said its aircrews have spotted “life jackets, life rings, containers and an oil sheen” in the sprawling search area but they have not yet been able to confirm whether the debris and oil is from the 790-foot El Faro.
The U.S. Coast Guard said there was still no trace on Saturday of El Faro, a 735-foot (224-m) cargo ship that went missing off Crooked Island in the Bahamas on Thursday morning after it was overcome by heavy weather from Joaquin.
Lloyd said that several smaller vessels reported missing during the storm also had been located and their crews found to be safe.
“As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro“.
“The Coast Guard has been doing search and rescue for more than 200 years, and this is right up their wheelhouse”, Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said.
“There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin”, Nolan said, adding that his company’s “primary concern is for the safety and well-being” of those aboard the ship.
The storm is expected to move away from the Bahamas on Saturday, but not before dumping up to 25 inches (63.5 centimeters) of rain in a few spots, the NHC said. Search and rescue efforts continued Saturday, after covering 850 square nautical miles on Friday, but turned up no sign of the U.S.-flagged ship.
“The fact that there has been no communications is not good news”, Lloyd said. “The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication”, the statement read.
“We’ve got to stay positive”, said Bobillot, of Rockland, Maine.
Three C-130 planes, an H-60 helicopter and a Navy’s P-8 plane were all airborne, Nash said.
The Coast Guard diverted a cutter and launched a helicopter to search the ship’s last known position. The crew reported it had taken on water and was listing 15 degrees but said it was “manageable”, according to the company.
There had been no reports of fatalities or injuries so far, said Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency. Officials said it would take time to come up with a complete assessment of the damage to private property and infrastructure.
The most destructive weather pattern so far this year was Tropical Storm Erika, which killed around 30 people and caused extensive damage in August on the small Caribbean island of Dominica. The storm is expected to lose strength in upcoming days, but a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch were issued for Bermuda.
Schools, businesses and government offices were closed as the slow-moving storm roared through the island chain.
Late Saturday night, the storm was centered about 385 miles (620 kilometers) southwest of Bermuda and was moving northeast at 20 mph (31 kph). “It’s really a mess and we are going to have significantly more problems with multiple rivers reaching moderate flood (level) or higher”.
Joaquin had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (205 kph), according to the Miami-based hurricane center.
Rick Knabb, director of the hurricane centre, said Joaquin is expected to pass well offshore from the eastern seaboard.
In addition, the entire East Coast will experience risky surf and rip currents through the weekend, he said.