The wreckage found at the bottom of the ocean on the 31st of October has been confirmed to be the ill-fated El Faro cargo ship, that sank on October 1st having succumbed to the strong winds of the Hurricane Joaquin, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in an update.
A search team on board the USNS Apache found the wreckage at a depth of about 15,000 feet in the vicinity of the ship’s last known position.
Snar equipment towed from Apache first detected what were 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 used CURV 21, a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle, to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage.
The target identified by Orion appears to be in an upright position and in one piece, based on the findings.
The NTSB will now proceed with 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.
Survey of the area and vessel continues, NTSB said.
The El Faro, a 735-foot ro-ro cargo ship owned by TOTE Maritime, carrying 33 crew members onboard was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida when it went missing.
The crew consisted of 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals.
World Maritime News Staff