Latin America & Caribbean

Missing ship: US Navy confirms it found El Faro wreckage

El Faro cargo ship. File photo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The El Faro disappeared on 1 October

The wreckage found on the seabed off the Bahamas on Saturday is that of a cargo ship that went missing last month, the US National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed.

The vessel, El Faro, went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, while sailing from Florida to Puerto Rico.

A US Navy had been searching the area for more than a week, using a deep ocean remotely-operated vehicle.

The ship had 33 crew members on board. Only one body has been recovered.

The US-flagged 241m (790ft) El Faro sent out a distress signal on 1 October, saying it had lost power and was taking on water.

'Not seaworthy'

Debris was spotted in the ocean in the days after the vessel disappeared.

The wreckage was located on Saturday by a US Navy ship using sonar equipment.

It was found intact and upright, at a depth of 15,000ft, by the remotely operated vehicle, CURV 21.

The 33 crew are believed to be dead. Most of them were US citizens.

Relatives have filed four lawsuits against the ship's owner, Tote Inc, saying it was not seaworthy and chartered a course too close to the hurricane, the Reuters news agency reported.

The company said El Faro was "seaworthy and properly manned".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption US Navy contractors departed from Virginia two weeks ago to begin searching for the wreckage
Image copyright REUTERS/NOAA
Image caption Hurricane Joaquin reached sustained winds of up to 210 km/h (130mph) when it hit the Bahamas

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