Management of the company that owned the El Faro, the cargo ship lost at sea during Hurricane Joaquin, state that the captain of the ship was aware of the weather conditions but had a plan to circumnavigate the storm safely. They contend that at the time the ship sailed, Joaquin was not as great a threat as it later became, and the captain believed he would be able to make the trip without encountering the storm. The apparent reason that the ship became imperiled was that it lost propulsion, they theorize, leaving it vulnerable to the ferocious winds and high waves. 
The sequence of events is unclear. It is unknown exactly when or why the El Faro lost propulsion and began to list. Nor is it clear how long the captain waited to send a distress call.  The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the matter, examining the logs, maintenance records and fitness of the captain and crew. They also hope to recover an onboard data recorder.