The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that the missing navigation bridge of TOTE Maritime’s missing cargo ship El Faro has been located after the ship disappeared near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.
However, the voyage data recorder that would explain the reasons for the tragedy has not yet been located.
Earlier this month, the US Navy’s salvage team discovered the 790ft-long cargo ship, oriented in an upright position with the stern buried in approximately 30ft of sediment, during the fifth of 13 planned search line survey.
The survey was conducted with the help of USNS Apache bearing Orion, a side-scanning sonar system.
Documentation of the port and starboard sides of the vessel, which was recorded by video camera outfitted CURV 21 remote operated vehicle (ROV), deployed in the USNS Apache, revealed that the navigation bridge and the deck below had separated from the cargo ship the vessel.
On 29 September, the cargo ship El Faro, with 33 people on board was travelling from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when the tropical storm Joaquin turned into a hurricane.
After a weeklong search operation initiated by the US Coast Guard yielded no results, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation into the incident in collaboration with US Navy, trying to recover the missing vessel’s data recorders.