NTSB to Determine Cause of El Faro Sinking in December

The probable cause of the October 2015 sinking of the cargo ship El Faro in the Atlantic Ocean is set to be determined in December 2017, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The decision would be made at a meeting, scheduled to be held on December 12. In addition to determining the probable cause of the sinking and any factors that may have contributed to the accident, the Board is expected to vote on recommendations to address safety issues uncovered during the investigation.

El Faro sank on September 29, 2015, some 34 hours after it set sail from Jacksonville, Florida, on a voyage to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 790-foot ship was near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 crewmembers aboard the vessel perished in the accident.

An investigation was launched as soon as the sinking was confirmed and the wreckage and debris field was located on October 31, 2015, more than 15,000 feet under the surface of the sea.

Investigators focused on recovering a crucial piece of evidence from the wreckage, the voyage data recorder (VDR), which contained more than 26 hours of audio recorded from the El Faro’s navigation bridge.

The VDR was located during the second mission in April 2016, but it was not recovered until the third mission in August 2016.

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