The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed the US Navy’s salvage team have found the wreckage of TOTE Maritime’s missing cargo ship El Faro that disappeared near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.
Documentation of the port and starboard sides of the vessel by video camera outfitted CURV 21 remote operated vehicle (ROV), deployed in the USNS Apache revealed that the vessel is oriented in an upright position with the stern buried in approximately 30ft of sediment.
The navigation bridge and the deck below were found to have separated from the ship, and have not yet been located.
Additionally, the voyage data recorder that would explain the reasons for the tragedy has not been located.
The vessel was found at a depth of about 15,000ft at 35 miles northeast of Crooked Island.
The salvage team has not identified any targets similar to the missing navigation bridge structure in the nearby debris field.
NTSB plans to redeploy the Orion side scan sonar system to generate a map of the debris field to locate the navigation bridge structure.
The USNS Apache bearing Orion, a side-scanning sonar system, detected the images of the 790ft-long cargo ship during the fifth of 13 planned search line surveys.
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 a 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.