Search resumes for El Faro data recorder

The National Transportation Safety Board is resuming its search for the data recorder belonging to TOTE Maritime’s sunken containership El Faro.

The 790’ ro/ro vessel sank during Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015, killing all 33 crewmembers aboard. The bulk of the ship’s wreckage was found in two parts, with the El Faro’s hull resting about a mile away from the bridge deck. However, the vessel data recorder (VDR) was lost in the sinking and was not recovered during the initial search.

The NTSB is now working with the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on a second search, sending the research vessel Atlantis back to the accident site for a 10-day trip beginning April 18.

The Atlantis, a Navy-owned research ship operated by Woods Hole, will carry the autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry to search for the VDR.

The NTSB and Coast Guard investigators hope to gain additional information from the VDR, particularly voice data from the navigation bridge in the hours leading up to the sinking, in addition to basic navigational data. The agencies also plan to take high-resolution imagery of the wreckage.

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Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is WorkBoat's online editor.

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