Miles of debris near El Faro's last known location

Cargo ship sailed from Jacksonville Tuesday into path of Hurricane Joaquin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard will provide new information about the missing cargo ship, the El Faro, Monday morning during a press conference at 10 a.m. at the Coast Guard Air Station Miami.

The crew of a C-130 plane involved in Sunday's search for the cargo ship reported seeing a 225-square-mile debris field of Styrofoam, wood, cargo and other items in the water where the missing cargo ship El Faro was last seen.

"Multiple sources from multiple locations have reported items," Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said.

Those items include containers, life jackets and small deck objects. An oil sheen was also located in the area. The Coast Guard said it is not sure if the items found were from the El Faro, but the items are what would be found on a cargo ship

The El Faro was headed from Jacksonville's Blount Island to Puerto Rico, and lost contact somewhere near the Crooked Islands in the Bahamas on Thursday. Thirty-three crew members were on board.


At the time the ship would have been passing near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin.

The Coast Guard said Sunday was the first day since the search began that weather has not worked against them in the search.

"We have clear visibility no restrictions. Seas have been varying between 3-and 5-foot seas, which is considerably less than what it has been the last couple days. Fifteen knot winds. It really is a stable day for search and rescue. We have a lot of rescue crews on scene," Nash said.

News4Jax spoke to the mother of a woman on the ship.

"Mariette has always been an adventurer," Mary Shevory said of her daughter, Mariette Wright. "From the time she was born she wanted to go seek adventure."

After a brief stint in the restaurant industry, Mariette Wright found her passion on the ocean. Her mother said she wasn't surprised.

"My elder daughter and my youngest daughter were born in normal times," Shevory said. "Mariette was born in a minute and a half. She's like, 'Let me out of here. I've got places to go, people to see.' And that is Mariette. That is how she lived. 'Let me out of here! I'm going to see what's out there.'"

Shevory said she always knew there were risks to her daughter's job and always feared for her safety. She said not knowing if Wright is OK has been agonizing.

"It is (emotional)," Shevory said. "I'm having trouble keeping my voice together."

She said the family is having a hard time staying strong.

"We cry together, we wail and scream and cry and pray," Shevory said. That's about all I can tell you. We're not holding up well, not at all."

Although giving up hope is the last thing she wants to do, she sai her mind is running wild.

"(Wright) loves the sea. She couldn't live without being on the sea, somehow, somewhere -- that is her life," Shevory said. "And now, I'm so afraid she's lost it to the sea."

The Coast Guard said the company that owns the El Faro, TOTE Maritime, is helping in the search effort.

The Coast Guard said two C-130 airplanes, a helicopter, the Coast Guard Cutter Northland, along with an Air Force C-130, were on the scene Sunday taking part in the search. In addition, a Navy P-8 from NAS Jacksonville was on scene.

TOTE Maritime issued this statement on Sunday's discovery.

"This morning TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico's second ship, the El Yunque, and a contracted tugboat reached the area between the last known vicinity of the El Faro and the location that the Coast Guard recovered a life ring yesterday and carried out a visual survey.

"The two vessels discovered a container, which appears to be from the El Faro, and observed what appears to be an oil sheen.

"At this time there has been no sighting of the El Faro or any life boats.

"TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico and the Coast Guard remain focused on the continuing search for the crew. The contracted tugs as well as other vessels transiting the area are also keeping a lookout for any sign of the ship.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the thirty-three individuals aboard the ship and their families. They are our number one priority."

TOTE Maritime set up a website for family members aboard the ship:http://elfaroincident.com