NTSB locates sunken cargo ship El Faro’s voyage data recorder


The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced that the sunken cargo ship El Faro's voyage data recorder (VDR) has been found in 15,000ft of water, 41 miles northeast of Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bahamas.

A team of investigators and scientists used remotely operated undersea search equipment to locate the VDR.

The investigative team consisted of specialists from the National Transportation Safety Board, the US Coast Guard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Tote Services, the owner and operator of El Faro.

“Finding an object about the size of a basketball almost three miles under the surface of the sea is a remarkable achievement.”

NTSB chairman Christopher A Hart said: "Finding an object about the size of a basketball almost three miles under the surface of the sea is a remarkable achievement.

"It would not have been possible without the information gained during the first survey of the wreckage and the equipment and support provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Science Foundation, the US Coast Guard, the US Navy, the University of Rhode Island, and the many other partners involved in this effort."

The kind of VDR mounted on El Faro could record conversations and sounds on the ship's navigation bridge, which will help investigators gather important evidence in order to understand the sequence of events that led to the sinking of the ship.

On 18 April, NTSB resumed the search for the VDR of the cargo ship.

The research vessel, called Atlantis, departed from Charleston, South Carolina.

Atlantis will now stay at the accident site until 30 April while the team continues the photo and video documentation of the sunken ship and debris field before returning to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on 5 May.

Atlantis carried an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), Sentry, to look for the VDR.