The U.S Coast Guard is planning on ending its search for the missing persons of the El Faro Wednesday evening, according to family members of those missing from the ship. The container ship went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, last week.
CNN reports that the family told them the news during a meeting Wednesday afternoon. The announcement was made after a friend of the captain, Michael Davidson, said that the captain would have had a good plan to escape the storm, when he and 32 other passengers left Florida for Puerto Rico.
However, the ship’s main propulsion failed, according to the owners of the ship. This stranded the crew directly in the path of the storm. The Coast Guard is under the impression that the ship sank.
Crews have searched for the passengers for days, combing the seas for signs of survivors.
Debris has been found, but the ship nor its passengers have been seen since contact was lost near the Bahamas. Last Thursday, that would have put the ship right in the path of Hurricane Joaquin.
The owners of the ship are certain that the captain had a plan to avoid the storm, and that the plan was only disrupted by the propulsion failure. The captain had access to real-time weather updates, and reported good water conditions when leaving the port in Jacksonville, FL.
The plan held by the captain would have enabled him to comfortably pass the storm. Officials say they trust the company’s captains to make decisions about safe travels. Reports were positive until the propulsion failure. The captain sent an email saying that conditions were favorable, back on September 30th.
Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor says that the ship was disabled near the eye of the hurricane. He also stated that if the crew abandoned ship, they would have still been in a dangerous situation. Hurricane Joaquin was a Category 4 storm, with winds over 140 MPH, 50 foot seas, and low to zero visibility.