Latin America & Caribbean

Missing ship: Oil and debris found in hunt for El Faro

El Faro cargo ship. File photo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The 224-metre vessel was last heard from on Thursday and was reported to be taking on water

US Coast Guards searching for a cargo ship with 33 crew on board that vanished in Bahamian waters during Hurricane Joaquin say they have spotted life jackets, rings and containers.

Rescue crews have also spotted an oil sheen on the water in the hunt for the 224m (735ft) El Faro, but cannot confirm the finds are from the ship.

Twenty-eight Americans and five Poles were on board the vessel.

It was last heard from on Thursday and was reported to be taking on water.

The El Faro - which was travelling from Florida to Puerto Rico - was also believed to be listing at 15 degrees after losing power and issuing a distress signal.

The US Coast Guard said it could not confirm that the objects spotted in the water were from the El Faro.

"The debris is scattered about over several miles," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss.

"It's going to take some time to verify. The items would appear to be consistent with the missing ship."

'No sign'

The owners of the El Faro, Tote Maritime, said two vessels it dispatched to the scene had found a container "which appears to be from the El Faro".

There had been no sighting of the El Faro or any lifeboats, Tote Maritime Puerto Rico president Tim Nolan said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the 33 individuals aboard the ship and their families," he added.

Joaquin brought heavy rains to the Bahamas, damaging a number of houses.

The now-weaker Category Two storm - with sustained winds of 105 mph (165km/h) - has moved away from the island nation in the Atlantic after battering it for two days.

It is heading towards Bermuda.

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