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US Navy to Search for Ship Missing off Bahamas

Maine Maritime Academy students bow their heads during a vigil of hope for the missing crew members of the U.S. container ship El Faro, Oct. 6, 2015, in Castine, Maine.

A U.S. Navy vessel was expected to depart on a search for a missing cargo ship that was lost in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Joaquin with 33 crew members on board.

The Apache will be taking equipment and investigators to an area near Crooked Island in the southeastern Bahamas in an attempt to locate the 240 meter cargo ship El Faro and retrieve its data recorder, said Christopher Johnson, for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

The Apache was leaving from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia and should take about two days to reach the area where teams will search for the ship in an area of about 260 square kilometers, Johnson said.

It is taking a towed pinger locator to locate the data recorder as well as side scan sonar and a remotely operated vehicle along with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the American Bureau of Shipping.

El Faro was on its regular cargo run from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it lost power and began taking on power on Oct. 1 in extremely rough seas churned up by the storm.