SS El Faro. Photo: Tote Maritime
The National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that the wreckage found Saturday off the coast of the Bahamas at a depth of about 15,000 feet is that of the missing American cargo ship El Faro.
The NTSB said over the weekend that a salvage team onboard the U.S. Navy tug USNS Apache found wreckage consistent with the missing cargo ship on the seafloor near the last known position of vessel – approximately 36 miles northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas. The wreckage was found using side-scan sonar.
The images showed that the ship appeared to be upright and in one piece.
The salvage team was expected to send an ROV to confirm and survey that the wreckage as early as Sunday.
Now that the wreckage is confirmed, the salvage team will look to recover the vessel’s voyage data recorder and begin documenting the wreckage.
A survey of the area and vessel continues, the NTSB said Monday.
The documentation operations are expected to take up to 15 days to complete in ideal conditions but could take longer depending on weather and conditions during the documentation process, the NTSB said Saturday.
The El Faro sank October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin with the loss of all 33 crew members.
The USNS Apache has been on scene searching for El Faro since October 23.
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