Coast Guard rescues crew of cargo ship, searches for another beset by Hurricane Joaquin

Joaquin spreads Coast Guard resources thin


MIAMI – The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 12 people who abandoned a 212-foot cargo ship that started to sink Thursday night in the Atlantic Ocean near Haiti.

Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma said the Coast Guard received a message that the crew members aboard the Bolivian-flagged cargo ship Minouche were making preparations to abandon the ship.

The Coast Guard diverted a cutter and launched a helicopter to search the ship's last known position. The crew members were eventually found clinging to a life raft about 10:30 p.m.

A rescue helicopter hoisted the crew members to safety. No one was injured.

Somma said the Coast Guard's resources have been spread thin because of Hurricane Joaquin.

The Coast Guard is also searching for a container ship that was reported to be caught in Hurricane Joaquin.

A 735-foot cargo ship named El Faro was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville when the 33-member crew reported that it was taking on water.

"We received notification (Thursday) morning that they had become disabled," Capt. Mark Fedor said.

The Coast Guard said it hasn't been able to make contact with the crew since.

Fedor said a Coast Guard plane has been flying low to the water in search of the ship.

"They're flying down at 2,000 feet, which is pushing -- absolutely pushing -- the operational envelope of what they're supposed to fly, pushing their safety limits, to try to lay some eyes on this vessel," Fedor said.

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