Sunken U.S. container ship had sufficient lifeboats, but hurricane may have prevented deployment
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The El Faro container ship had more than enough lifeboats and rafts for its well-trained crew of 33 to escape the sinking vessel, but maritime experts say the winds and seas of Hurricane Joaquin likely made the task extremely difficult.
The 790-foot ship had two lifeboats capable of carrying 43 people each, five life rafts and 46 water survival suits, according to the Coast Guard and the ship’s owner. It’s not known if the crew could deploy them before the disabled, powerless El Faro sank near the Bahamas.
Coast Guard officials say the search was continuing Tuesday. One body was found in a survival suit. Searchers also found a damaged lifeboat and other debris.
The El Faro disappeared last Thursday as Joaquin bore down on it while en route from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico.