US Navy salvage team finds wreckage of TOTE’s missing cargo ship El Faro

1 November 2015 (Last Updated November 1st, 2015 18:30)

The US Navy's salvage team has reportedly found the wreckage of TOTE Maritime's missing cargo ship El Faro that disappeared near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.

The US Navy’s salvage team has reportedly found the wreckage of TOTE Maritime’s missing cargo ship El Faro that disappeared near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.

The vessel is said to have been located at a depth of about 15,000ft at 35 miles northeast of Crooked Island.

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.

"The USNS Apache bearing Orion detected the images of the 790ft-long cargo ship during the fifth of 13 planned search line surveys."

The USNS Apache, a vessel from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginiam departed for Crooked Islands, near the Bahamas, on 19 October to locate the cargo ship and retrieve its data recorders.

NTSB said in a statement that upon confirmation of the vessel’s identity, CURVE-21, outfitted with a video camera will document the vessel and the debris field to locate the voyage data recorder.

The operations are expected to take up to 15 days to complete.

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 search operation, 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 results except discovering an unidentifiable body.

Consequently, 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.