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As search ends, names of missing El Faro crew members released

JACKSONVILLE, Florida --The Coast Guard ended the search for the crew of the missing cargo ship El Faro at sunset on Wednesday, and later in the day the Tote Maritime released the names of the crew members.

The list of the 33 crew members aboard include 28 people from the United States from Florida, Georgia, Maine, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee.

The whole list can be found here:

  • Louis Champa -- Palm Coast, Florida
  • Roosevelt Clark -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Sylvester Crawford Jr. -- Lawrenceville, Georgia
  • Michael Davidson -- Windham, Maine
  • Brookie Davis -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Keith Griffin -- Fort Myers, Florida
  • Frank Hamm -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Joe Hargrove -- Orange Park, Florida
  • Carey Hatch -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Michael Holland -- North Wilton, Maine
  • Jack Jackson -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Jackie Jones, Jr. -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Lonnie Jordan -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Piotr Krause -- Poland
  • Mitchell Kuflik -- Brooklyn, New York
  • Roan Lightfoot -- Jacksonville Beach, Florida
  • Jeffrey Mathias -- Kingston, Massachusetts
  • Dylan Meklin -- Rockland, Maine
  • Marcin Nita -- Poland
  • Jan Podgorski -- Poland
  • James Porter -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Richard Pusatere -- Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Theodore Quammie -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Danielle Randolph -- Rockland, Massachusetts
  • Jeremie Riehm -- Camden, Delaware
  • Lashawn Rivera -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Howard Schoenly -- Cape Coral, Florida
  • Steven Shultz -- Roan Mountain, Tennessee
  • German Solar-Cortes -- Orlando, Florida
  • Anthony Thomas -- Jacksonville, Florida
  • Andrzej Truszkowski -- Poland
  • Mariette Wright -- St. Augustine, Florida
  • Rafal Zdobych -- Poland

The ill-fated voyage of the 790-foot freighter with 33 aboard began September 30, when it departed Jacksonville for Puerto Rico. The crew radioed that it was taking on water from then-Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin about two days later, and it was declared missing October 2. The Coast Guard and the vessel's owners determined the ship had definitely sunk on October 5.

The cargo ship El Faro is docked in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 16, 2009, in this picture taken by Allen Baker.
The cargo ship El Faro is docked in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 16, 2009, in this picture taken by Allen Baker. Allen Baker/MarineTraffic

Howard Brooks, cousin of crew members James Porter and Jackie James, told CBS Radio that the Coast Guard delivered the news about ending the search for survivors at a meeting Wednesday afternoon, a little more than a week after the El Faro left shore for the last time.

New questions emerge amid frantic search for El Faro crew

Robert Green, father of missing crew member LaShawn Rivera, said despite the decision, "I think we're still hopeful. Miracles do happen, and it's God's way only. I'm prayerful, hopeful and still optimistic."

The ship sank when Hurricane Joaquin was producing 140 mph winds and 50-foot waves. Officials say the ship's captain had plans to go around the storm as he headed from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico, but the El Faro suffered unexplained engine failure that left it unable to avoid the storm.

Three Coast Guard cutters, two C-130 aircraft, helicopters, three commercial tugboats and a U.S. Navy plane were searched across a 300-square-mile expanse of Atlantic Ocean near Crooked Island in the Bahamas. The searchers found a body in a survival suit, but were unable to retrieve it. They also found an empty life raft, empty survival suits, a life ring and other debris.

El Faro's story so far left members of the National Transportation Safety Board to Jacksonville trying to determine why the captain, crew and owners of El Faro decided to risk sailing in stormy waters.

Search for El Faro to end at sunset

"We will be looking at everything. So, we leave no stone unturned in our investigation and our analysis. We want to find every bit of information that we possibly can," Bella Dinh-Zarr, NTSB vice-chairman, said.

In addition to the voyage data recorder - which begins pinging when it gets wet and has a 30-day battery life - the board will focus on communications between the captain and the vessel's owner.

Another question is whether the five workers whose job was to prepare the engine room for a retrofitting had any role in the boat's loss of power, which set the vessel adrift in the stormy seas. Officials from Tote Inc., the vessel's owner, say they don't believe so. But the question - along with the captain's decision to plot a course near the storm - will help investigators figure out why the boat apparently sank near the Bahamas, possibly claiming the lives of all 33 aboard.

The ship is believed to have gone down in 15,000 feet of water after reporting its last known position last Thursday. One unidentified body has been found, but no recovered.

"It's just a tragic, tragic situation," Dinh-Zarr said.

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