Hurricane Joaquin: 'El Faro' cargo ship disappears in the eye of the storm with 33 people on board

The US Coast Guard lost contact with the ship on Thursday morning

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The Independent US

The US Coast Guard is searching for a cargo ship with 33 people on board that has gone missing en route to Puerto Rico, as Hurricane Joaquin batters the Bahamas.

The ship, named El Faro, was travelling from Jacksonville, Florida, taking it through a part of the North Atlantic where Hurricane Joaquin is currently raging.

Officials have said that they received a call from the crew saying the 224-metre ship had lost propulsion, and was listing near Crooked Island in the Bahamas.

The last message the Coast Guard received from the crew was that the ship had taken on water, but that they had managed to contain the flooding.

Since 7:20am on Thursday 1 October, rescue crews have not been able to re-establish communications with the crew on Thursday or Friday.

The Coast Guard has sent out multiple search parties, including two Air Force planes, but to no avail.

According to MarineTraffic, El Faro is due to arrive at its destination, San Juan in Puerto Rico, at 5PM on Friday 2 October (10PM GMT).

However, its last recorded position was just off the coast of the island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas, almost 900 miles from San Juan.

TOTE Maritime, the company that owns the ship, has released a statement, saying they have established "open lines of the communication" with the families of the crew members, to keep them updated with the latest news.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families," they said

They added they were working closely with the Coast Guard to try and re-establish communications with the ship as soon as possible.

This story will be updated as more details are known.

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