The mission to recover the voyage data recorder from sunken containership El Faro has been postponed until August, Jacksonville.com reported Wednesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced June 6 that it would launch a mission to recover the VDR in an effort to learn more about the Oct. 1 sinking that killed all 33 crewmembers aboard TOTE Services' 790’ ro/ro containership.
After being lost in Hurricane Joaquin, the bulk of the El Faro wreck was identified Nov. 1, 2015 in about 15,000’ feet of water near Crooked Island, Bahamas, but the navigation bridge had separated from the hull. The bridge was found 10 days later, but the ship’s mast and VDR were not located until a second search effort in late April.
The NTSB contracted with U.S. Navy salvage experts for the VDR recovery mission, and officials told Jacksonville.com that the mission had been pushed back due to unavailability of resources.
The naval resources participating in the recovery effort include the 226’x42’x15”fleet tug Apache and CURV-21, a remotely operated underwater vehicle. Both vessels were used to locate the El Faro wreckage in November.
A Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation has already convened twice for hearings to investigate the sinking. The agency is considering a third hearing in the fall of 2016 to analyze information from the VDR if it can be recovered.