Search for El Faro


There is still no sign of Sea Star Lines’El Faro cargo ship, last heard from around 7:20 a.m. Thursday. 28 Americans were aboard when it went missing during Hurricane Joaquin. Families anxiously wait for news of their loved ones. Coast Guard is combing weather-ravaged waters for the 735-foot vessel which disappeared between Jacksonville and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Information from

updated: 8:30am EST, Saturday Oct. 3, 2015

What is the current status of the El Faro?
On September 29, the El Faro, one of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s two ships departed Jacksonville en-route to San Juan Puerto Rico
As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro
The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication
At the time of last communication, the ship’s Master reported the vessel had lost propulsion and had taken on water but the issue was contained and the crew was pumping it successfully
Vessel had a reported 15 degree list due primarily to weather conditions but it was reported to be manageable
What is known at this point in time regarding her situation?
We have been working with the USCG to locate the vessel since Thursday morning, Oct 1. when we lost communication
On Friday, the Coast Guard deployed Coast Guard Cutter Northland, MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew forward deployed in Great Inagua, Bahamas and HC-130 Hercules airplanes from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida to search for the El Faro
The US Department of Defense has deployed Navy assets to aid in the search
Unfortunately weather conditions in the area continue to impede the search
Search operations were suspended overnight on Friday and resumed at first light Saturday morning October 3. Coast Guard assets deployed include: Three C130 aircraft, one Helo helicopter, Navy P-8 aircraft. The USCG Cutter Northland, USCG Cutter Resolute, a Navy ship and three commercial tugs are enroute to the location as well.
Why was she sailing when you knew there was bad weather?
t the time of the El Faro’s departure, the vessel’s officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin
Our crew are trained to deal with unfolding weather situations and are best prepared and equipped to respond to emerging situations while at sea
Who authorized the voyage? Should the ship have been sailing?
TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico authorized the sailing knowing that the crew are more than equipped to handle situations such as changing weather
Have you communicated with families/loved ones of those affected?
Yes, we have reached out to all the families of the 33 individuals onboard and are in constant communication with them regarding situation updates
A 24 hour phone line and dedicated family website has been active since Thursday afternoon
TOTE has assisted family members and loved ones in travel to Jacksonville where in-person family meetings are being held
When do you expect to reestablish communication with the ship?
We are doing all that we can in conjunction with the USCG to reestablish communication with the ship
How large is the area being searched?
oast Guard search crews have covered approximately 850 square nautical miles in the search for the El Faro crew
What is the ship carrying?
The El Faro is carrying TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s standard cargo – grocery, cars, retail products – products need for daily life in Puerto Rico
What is the age of ship?
The El Faro was built in 1975 and was updated in 2006
What is the mechanical condition of ship?
El Faro is a well maintained vessel that is classed by ABS. We are not fully aware of her current condition, as we are not able to communicate with the vessel.
What is the competency of crew?
The crew are fully qualified members of the Seaman’s International Union and the American Maritime Officers
All crew are fully trained to US and international standards
What are the names and hometowns of crew members?
The crew consists of 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals
Out of respect for the families and loved ones, we are not releasing personally identifying information at this time

TOTE Maritime > Home News > Oct. 2 Update from TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico on El Faro

Posted on October 2, 2015 by TOTE Communications
Statement from TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico Regarding the Current Situation with El Faro
Jacksonville, FL (October 2, 2015) – Tim Nolan, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico issued the following statement regarding the current situation with the El Faro.

“On September 29, the El Faro, one of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s two ships departed Jacksonville en-route to San Juan Puerto Rico. At the time of the El Faro’s departure, the vessel’s officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin. As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro. The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication. There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the 33 individuals on board. We are working to ensure clear and frequent communications with their families and loved ones as we learn more.

We have reached out to the families of those impacted and have established open lines of communication to provide them with timely updates. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and all available resources to establish communication by whatever means possible.”

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Expert view on prospects for salvage operations on Korean Ferry

Let’s try getting a better sense of what’s to come in terms of search, rescue, and salvage operations down off Korea’s southwestern coast.
For that, Captain Nicholas Sloane joins us live on the line from Italy.
Nicholas Sloane is a marine master with over 30 years of experience and was in charge of salvage operations of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship off Italy.
Captain Sloane, thank you so much for joining us.

Let’s start with the search and rescue operations here in Korea, now in their tenth day.
Based on your expertise and experience in the field, which stage is the Korean rescue team at?
How does this case compare with the Costa Concordia case?

Expert view on prospects for salvage operations on Korean Ferry arirang
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Jindo, South Korea (CNN) — Anguished relatives of missing South Korean ferry passengers waited somberly for answers Thursday as rescuers fought bad weather, murky water, darkness and time to find a way deep into the capsized ship.

Authorities believe 276 people — many of them high school students on a field trip — may remain trapped inside the five-story ship. At least some, authorities say, could still be alive more than a day after the ship rolled over.

Meanwhile, the ferry’s captain is facing mounting questions about the incident.

Among other things, authorities are investigating the possibility the ship was off course when it ran into trouble, as well as reports that few of its lifeboats made it into the water, according to Kim Soo Hyeon, the chief of South Korea’s Yellow Sea Maritime Police Agency.

Ferry captain Lee Joon Suk, his head and face covered, broke down in tears when reporters asked if he had anything to say.

“I am sorry, I am at a loss for words,” Lee said at a South Korean Coast Guard office.

At least 20 people are known dead, according to the South Korean Ministry of Security and Public Administration. As of Thursday night, at least 179 had been rescued.

Weather hinders rescue

More than 170 ships and 512 divers have swarmed the ferry about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Jindo, South Korea, harbor where relatives have gathered.

But poor conditions have kept rescuers from reaching parts of the ship where air pockets could be sustaining survivors, authorities said.

Can they survive in air pockets?

Relentless rain, whipping winds and thick fog stymied rescue efforts Thursday. Three of the 22 volunteer divers who joined the search went missing in high tide but were later found, YTN said.

Efforts to pump air into the ship also failed because of the bad weather.

Despite government assurances that rescuers would work around the clock to save lives, some relatives were angry about the pace of the rescue operation.

“If the government cares for the people, our family, our children, please rescue our families and our children,” said Chang Min, whose second-grade son is among the missing.

‘Don’t move’

The ferry, which is designed to carry cargo and vehicles as well as passengers, was on a routine passage between Incheon and the resort island of Jeju when something went awry shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
On board were more than 300 Seoul high school students and teachers on a four-day trip to the island.

Questions mount in South Korean ferry disaster; hundreds still missing CNN
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