At sunset on October 7, the U.S. Coast Guard declared that the search and rescue operation to find the crew of the El Faro had ended. The ship's crew included members of the American Maritime Officers union and Seafarers International Union.
"Our hearts are heavy," said AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr. "The crew, their families, and all our brothers and sisters at the American Maritime Officers and Seafarers International Union are in our prayers."
The 40 year-old cargo ship left the port of Jacksonville, Florida and was en route to the its destination in Puerto Rico when its main propulsion system failed, putting the stalled vessel in the direct path of the slow moving, yet powerful category 4 Hurricane Joaquin.
The U.S. Coast Guard has located two debris fields it believes are related to the ship. One badly damaged lifeboat has been discovered as well as the remains of one of the crew who was found in a survival suit early in the search and rescue operation.
"We are heartsick to hear that the search has been discontinued," said Cox. "We stand in solidarity with fellow union members and mourn the loss of these individuals. AFGE is committed to providing any support we can in light of this tragedy."