The 242 meter long, 14971 dwt container ship El Faro went missing off Crooked Island, Bahamas. On September 29, the El Faro departed from Jacksonville, Florida bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico on a four day voyage with its 33 crew. The following day a tropical storm intensified into Hurricane Joaquin. Hurricane Joaquin increases intensity on October 1 with winds reaching up to 120 miles per hour. The El Faro continued on its heading into the hurricane. Later in the day, the crew reported the container ship had suffered water ingress and lost power as it passed Crooked Island. One crewman on the El Faro sent an email stated the vessel had sustained a list and continued to suffer water ingress. Soon after communication was lost with the El Faro.
On October 2, the Coast Guard dispatches a cutter along with helicopters to begin a search for the El Faro. The initial search was unable to find any sign of the vessel. The search continues on the following day when a life ring is spotted in the water near Crooked Island. The search continues into the third day when the Coast Guard finds a debris field and oil sheen on the surface. A container is also spotted and it is latter identified coming from the El Faro. Search and rescue continues when the Coast Guard finds the body of one of the crew members of the El Faro. Reports state the crewman was wearing a survival suit. The El Faro lifeboat is later found empty.
On February 26, contact was lost with the 700 ton squid fishing vessel Hsiang Fu Chun. The Hsiang Fu Chun and its 49 crew was sailing in the South Atlantic some 1,700 miles off the Falkland Islands when it contacted its owners. The vessel reported it was taking on water from the deck when contact was lost. Weather conditions in the area were reported to be poor. Authorities state that the Hsiang Fu Chun was equipped with an emergency beacon, but no signal was sent. Because of its remote location, the search for the fishing vessel has been limited. Three other fishing vessels in the area have been mobilized in the search effort.
On October 24, the NTCL barge broke free from its towline and went adrift in the Beaufort Sea. The 134 foot long self-propelled barge was under tow headed to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada after delivering supplies when it encountered a heavy storm in the Beaufort Sea. When the towline parted, the tug continued on its way to Tuktoyaktuk instead of risking the crew in the storm. The tug was able to reach port safely while the barge was driven westerly by the storm.
Canadian and US authorities dispatched aircraft to monitor the barge. Reports state that there where little resources in the area as ice is quickly forming in the Beaufort Sea. The barge owner, Northern Transportation Company, has attempted to rescue the vessel, but can’t find any available tugs in the area.
Five days later, the barge was last spotted off Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. However, flights during the following days were unable to locate the barge. Authorities believe the vessel could have frozen in the ice some 10 miles offshore or possibly sank. Flights will continue and a GPS tracker will be dropped on the vessel if it spotted again. Reports state there are some concerns about pollution as some 3,500 litres of diesel fuel were still in the barge’s tanks.