El-Faro Wreckage Believed to Be Found
A search team on board the USNS Apache has found the wreckage of a vessel that they believe to be the cargo ship El Faro, which went missing on Oct. 1 during Hurricane Joaquin.
The hull was located at a depth of about 15,000 feet in the vicinity of the last known position.
Sonar equipment towed from Apache first detected what are believed to be images of the vessel using Orion, a side-scanning sonar system, at about 1:36 pm ET on October 31 during the fifth of 13 planned search line surveys.
To confirm the finding, specialists on Apache planned to use CURV 21, a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle, to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage.
The target identified by Orion is consistent with a 790-foot cargo ship, which from sonar images appears to be in an upright position and in one piece.
Shortly after the National Transportation Safety Board opened its investigation into the accident, it contracted with the U.S. Navy to locate the missing ship, document the wreckage and debris field, and if possible, recover the voyage data recorder.
If the vessel is confirmed to be El Faro, CURV-21, an ROV, outfitted with a video camera will start the documentation of the vessel and the debris field and attempt to locate and recover the voyage data recorder. Those operations are expected to take up to 15 days to complete in ideal conditions but could take longer depending on weather and conditions encountered during the documentation process.
Source: NTSB; Image: TOTE Services