On January 9, the 62 foot long tugboat Gulf Man sank 6 miles northeast of Andros Island, Bahamas. The Gulf Man with a barge under tow departed from Miami bound for the Bahamas when it sprung a leak. With the crew unable to control the flooding, the vessel began to sink. The Coast Guard received an alert from the Gulf Man‘s emergency position tracking radio beacon (EPIRB) and launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the scene. The helicopter arrived on scene and hoisted all three crew off the sinking tug. No reports of injuries. The helicopter flew the crew to Nassau, Bahamas. No further details reported.
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.
A 730 foot long container barge under the tow of the 538 gt tug Patriarch caught fire off Nassau, Bahamas. The fire started in one of the containers and continued to burn as the barge was unmanned. No reports of injuries. The vessels proceeded towards Nassau where authorities can deploy fire fighting efforts.