Mission to recover El Faro VDR set to begin

The delayed mission to recover sunken cargo vessel El Faro’s voyage data recorder (VDR) is set to begin.

National Transportation Safety Board personnel will be aboard the US Navy ship Apache, which is loaded and specially prepared for the task.

El Faro sank last October 1 when it was caught in Hurricane Joaquin off of the Bahamas while transporting cars from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. All 33 crew members were lost. The wreckage was found in November on the ocean floor, broken into two main pieces.

It took until April for the VDR to be detected, still attached to the ship’s mast but it could not be recovered at that time.

The Apache will be equipped with the necessary equipment this time including a remotely operated vehicle with movable arms that can operate in deep water, cut the recorder free and safely bring it to the surface.

The Apache will set off from Virginia Beach. It should take four days to reach the site and is expected to return to shore by August 16.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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