U.S. Coast Guard: Debris spotted from missing cargo ship

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U.S. Coast Guard crews reported spotting a 225-square-mile debris field on Sunday of Styrofoam, wood, cargo and other items near the last known position of a missing cargo ship.

A C-130 trying to locate the El Faro reported the debris, according to a tweet.

The objects includes thousands of pieces of Styrofoam, pieces of wood, a cargo door, fenders that belonged to a ship and multiple 55-gallon drums, a Coast Guard spokesperson told Fox News.

The debris field was the second found on Sunday. Earlier in the day, "multiple items" were seen in the water just before noon. Those items included containers, loose deck materials and oil sheen, crew members told WMTW-TV in Maine.

Saturday night the Coast Guard recovered an orange life preserver Saturday belonging to the 735-foot-long ship.

Tim Nolan, president TOTE Marine Puerto Rico, the El Faro’s owner, said Sunday afternoon that another company-owned ship and a contracted tugboat found a container that appears to be from the missing ship 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,” Nolan said.

The search for the large cargo ship with 28 Americans on board resumed Sunday morning. The ship vanished Thursday as Hurricane Joaquin slammed the Bahamas.

Officials said the El Faro, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. They said they received notification that the ship had lost power around 7 a.m. ET Thursday near Crooked Island in the eastern Bahamas, one of the islands most battered by the storm.

Captain Mark Fedor, chief of response for the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami, told Fox News' Julie Banderas on "Fox Report Weekend" that the search conditions on the water were "pretty extreme" for crews.

A search plane flew within 50 nautical miles of the eye of Hurricane Joaquin on Saturday, Fedor said.

The Coast Guard said the crew told officials the ship had taken on water but that they eventually contained the flooding, Fox30 reported. Authorities said five Polish nationals are also on board the missing ship.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families," TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico said in a statement Saturday.

Fedor said the vessel was very close to the eye of Joaquin when the power cut out.

Two Air Force C-130 Hurricane Hunter aircrews tried to locate and reestablish communications with the El Faro unsuccessfully Thursday. The Coast Guard combed a vast 850 square nautical mile area before calling off the search Friday.

The search has been conducted by air and by sea.

Fedor said the C-130's were flying over the area at an altitude of 2,000 feet, much lower than the 10,000 feet at which Hurricane Hunter aircraft usually fly, in order to see through the heavy rains and sea spray as they search for the missing ship.

"We're going to do the best we can during daylight hours," Fedor said of the search.

Fedor said the El Faro was carrying 294 trailers and automobiles in its hold, in addition to the 391 shipping containers on-deck, as it battled 20 to 30 foot seas.

"This is what we do... if there is potential of a life to save," Fedor said.

Joaquin's slow-moving path battered parts of the Bahamas, cutting communication to several islands, most of them lightly populated. There were no reports of fatalities or injuries, Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency told the Associated Press.

Residents reached by relatives said they were "trapped in their homes, and reported feeling as if their structures were caving in," Russell added. "It's too dangerous to go outside because the flood waters are so high, so we ask that persons stay inside and try to go into the most secure place of their home."

Joaquin was packing maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported at the time El Faro disappeared.

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