October 21, 2015
San Salvador Island Administrator Theophilus Cox said yesterday that several items, believed to be from the sunken American cargo ship El Faro, have been washing ashore on the island in recent days. Exuma Island Administrator Neil Campbell said yesterday that several items, including part of a container, washed ashore on that island as well. Both men stressed there was no confirmation on where the items originated.
The El Faro, a 735-foot cargo vessel, is believed to have sank off Crooked Island after it was caught in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin earlier this month. Cox said residents were reportedly collecting items "that were believed to be on the ship". He said the items included toiletries.
Cox said it is unclear when the items started washing ashore but residents have frequented the area. He said up to yesterday no one had come to the island to verify if any of the items were from the El Faro. San Salvador resident Everette Johnson said the items started washing up sometime on Friday.
"A friend of mine found a freezer filled with chocolate candy bars and stuff like that," he said.
Johnson said some of the items that washed up include motor oil, power steering oil, tennis shoes, medicine and syringes. He said people on the island are "taking the stuff".
Campbell said he was at the airport on Great Exuma when he got a call that a portion of a container had washed up in the area known as the boulevard.
"I, along with the chief councilor, Mr. Leonard Dames, and along with our west township chairperson, Mr. Glenn Davis, visited the area and we looked into the water there and it did have a portion of a trailer," he said. "It was the portion that would normally be rigged up to the trailer head. It appears to have been possibly a freezer container because it had the brand name Carrier on it."
Johnson said the tag on the container read "Segu" and the number on it was 902890/2.
"Apart from that there were a few items that washed up on shore like hand sanitizers, bath soaps, a pair of tennis and a few other items," he said.
Campbell said police were at the scene, but he hadn't spoken to them as to where the items may have come from.
When The Nassau Guardian reached out to Tote Maritime, the owner of the El Faro an official said he will look into the matter.
The El Faro departed Jacksonville, Florida, on September 29 en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 33 people on board. There were reportedly 28 Americans and five Polish crewmembers on board the vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard officially called off its search for the vessel on October 7. Officials discovered what was presumed to be the body of one of the crew members on October 5.
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