Navigation bridge and deck detached from El Faro wreckage, says NTSB

Navigation bridge and deck detached from El Faro wreckage, says NTSB

The US National Transportation Board (NTSB) said on Tuesday that the sunken cargo vessel El Faro is broken into at least two pieces with the navigation bridge and the deck below it separated from the rest of the ill-fated ship.

That’s a considerable change from Monday’s first report from the NTSB when it confirmed the wreckage had been identified and said the boat was “intact” at a depth of 15,000 feet offshore the Bahamas.

Further examination of video evidence from the remotely operated, video-equipped Curv 21 vehicle led to the revised assessment. The Curv 21 is being deployed from the US Navy ship Apache, which first located the wreckage on Saturday.

The NTSB now says the vessel is oriented in an upright position with the stern buried in approximately 30 feet of sediment but the navigation bridge and attached deck have not yet been seen.

There is also no sign yet of the vessel’s voyage data recorder which, if found, should give investigators a much clearer picture of what happened to the El Faro.

The 735-foot El Faro was carrying a cargo of cars from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 1 when it was caught up catastrophically in Hurricane Joaquin, losing engine power and going down with the loss of all 33 crew.

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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