The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded the search for the voyage data recorder of TOTE Maritime’s cargo ship El Faro that disappeared near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.
Documentation of the cargo ship El Faro and the associated debris field has been completed by video camera outfitted CURV 21 remote operated vehicle (ROV), deployed in the USNS Apache.
NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart said: "Over the years we’ve completed many investigations without the aid of recorders and other investigative tools.
"While it is disappointing that the voyage data recorder was not located, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to determine the probable cause of this tragedy and the factors that may have contributed to it."
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 surveys conducted with the help of USNS Apache bearing Orion, a side-scanning sonar system.
Documentation of the port and starboard sides of the vessel revealed that the navigation bridge and the deck below had separated from the cargo ship the vessel.
On 11 November, the NTSB confirmed that it found the missing navigation bridge. However, the voyage data recorder that would explain the reasons for the tragedy could not be located.