Cargo Ship Loss has Pine Island Connection
When the 790-foot cargo ship El Faro left Jacksonville on Tuesday, Sept. 28th for its regularly scheduled deliveries to Puerto Rico, tropical storm Joaquin had 40 mph winds, was about 400 miles NE of the Central Bahamas and heading slowly SW. The forecasts suggested the storm would gather significant strength in the coming days. Two days later on Thursday, Oct 31st winds were about 120mph.
The Miami Herald reports, that TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, which owns the ship said. “TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico authorized the sailing knowing that the crew is more than equipped to handle situations such as changing weather.”
The ship had nearly 400 cargo containers above deck and about 300 below and after issuing a distress call that it was taking on water, sank in an area where the water is estimated to be about 15,000 feet deep.
Among the 33 members of the crew so far not found, one of the crew members is a longtime resident of Pine Island, 46-year-old Jeremy Riehm. Jeremy is the son of Anna Riehm and the husband of Tina, owner of Creative Coast Preschool in Bokeelia. Tina also has two younger children, a son and daughter.
The U.S. Coast Guard has stated that their search efforts will soon cease without any further finds. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard are continuing to investigate.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Riehms and the other families.