The wife of one of missing cargo ship El Faro’s crewmembers has demanded to know why the beleaguered vessel set sail and why it did not re-route out of the path of Hurricane Joaquin.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail Online from her home in Jacksonville, Florida, Rochelle Hamm, 44, revealed her confusion at the captain’s decision but told of her absolute faith that her husband and the rest of the crew were still alive and would be returned safely.
She said: ‘We [the families] were wondering why they shipped out even though they knew that the storm was coming. And why didn’t they re-route as well.’
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The U.S. Coast Guard says it is still searching for car carrier ship El Faro after the vessel radioed to say it had lost power and was being battered by Hurricane Joaquin before losing contact
She revealed that Tote Maritime executives are standing by 53-year-old Captain Michael Davidson’s decision to set out in what was then categorized as a Tropical Storm.
She said: ‘Basically they were emphasizing that the captain has had 20 years of experience plus and that he could decide and have good decisions on things of that nature.’
Tote Maritime reported on Saturday that a life ring from El Faro was found was 120 miles northeast of Crooked Island.
That's about 70 miles northeast of the last known position of the El Faro before it lost contact with authorities with 33 people on board.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss says the crew of a C-130 airplane spotted the life ring Saturday and a helicopter crew confirmed it was from the El Faro.
Though the release also states that the discovery of the life ring is in so way indicative of the ship's fate and that of the crew, icluding Frank Hamm, on board.
Mrs Hamm, a data entry clerk for the Federal government, has been married to husband, Frank, for 18 years and the couple have five children and three grandchildren.
Lost with all hands: One body found after cargo ship with 28 Americans onboard sinks during Hurricane Joaquin leaving behind one wife pregnant with twins
TIMELINE OF SEARCH FOR MISSING CARGO SHIP EL FARO
Tuesday, Sept. 29: El Faro, with a crew of 33 and a cargo that included cars and retail goods, departed Jacksonville, Florida for San Juan, Puerto Rico. As of 5am that day, then-Tropical Storm Joaquin had maximum wind speeds of 40 mph and its center was located about 385 miles northeast of the central Bahamas, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
Thursday, Oct. 1: TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, the ship's owner, loses all communication with the El Faro after the crew reported losing power and taking on water as the ship is passing near Crooked Island in the southeastern Bahamas. Hurricane Joaquin is now a Category 3, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with higher gusts. The hurricane-force winds extended 35 miles out from the center. The center was 10 miles north of Samana Cay in the southern Bahamas.
Friday, Oct. 2: The US Coast Guard deploys the cutter Northland, an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew that was based in Great Inagua, Bahamas and HC-130 Hercules airplanes from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, to search for the El Faro. They find no trace of the ship.
Saturday, Oct. 3: The Coast Guard says it found a life ring from the El Faro about 120 miles northeast of Crooked Island. US Navy and Air Force planes and vessels hired by the owner of the El Faro also assist in the search.
Sunday, Oct. 4: The Coast Guard says it found a large debris field that appears to include material that came from the ship and a sheen of oil on the surface of the sea. The company says it found a container that came from the ship.
Monday, Oct. 5: The Coast Guard says it determined that the ship sank. It reports finding the body of one crew member and an empty life boat.