The National Transportation Safety Board has opened the accident docket and released underwater images and video of the sunken El Faro vessel as part of its continuing investigation into the sinking of the cargo ship in the Atlantic Ocean in October.
The US-flagged ship, owned by Sea Star Line, LLC, and operated by TOTE Services, went missing on October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin with twenty-eight US crewmembers and five Polish workers on board.
In early October, the NTSB 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.
The 240-meter ship was located on October 31 by USNS Apache in about 4,572 meters of water in the vicinity of its last known position near Crooked Island, Bahamas. The finding was confirmed on November 1 when investigators were able to view video of the vessel obtained from CURV-21 ROV.
Video revealed that the navigation bridge structure and the deck below it had separated from the ship. The missing structure included the mast and its base where the voyage data recorder was mounted.
On November 11, the navigation bridge was found but neither the mast nor the VDR was found in the vicinity of the navigation bridge structure.
After five more days of searching with CURV-21, it was determined that the VDR could not be located.
More than 47 minutes of video from CURV-21 is included in the docket, as well as the nine underwater photos.
The El Faro docket is available at https://go.usa.gov/c5vYV.