The US Navy has launched salvage operations to locate the wreckage of TOTE Maritime’s missing cargo ship El Faro that disappeared near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.
The USNS Apache bearing sonar equipment departed for Crooked Islands, near the Bahamas, which is the last known position of the ship, on Monday to locate the cargo ship and retrieve its data recorders.
The vessel from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia is expected to take about two days to reach the area to pursue search operations in an area of about 260km².
The ship enroute from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico, departed on 29 September with the vessel’s officers and crew monitoring the tropical storm Joaquin, which later turned into a hurricane.
After a search operation covering over 172,000nm², the US Coast Guard concluded that the ship sank near the Bahamas, and suspended the search for survivors, in order to focus on finding the ship and voyage data recorder that would explain the reasons for the tragedy.
The week-long search operation by the Coast Guard yielded no progress except discovering an unidentifiable body.
Consequently, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation into the incident and is trying to recover the missing vessel’s data recorders.