First Photos and Video of El Faro Wreckage Released by NTSB

Mike Schuler
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January 4, 2016

Stern of the El Faro. Photo: NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the first photos and video of the wreckage of the sunken El Faro as part of its investigation into the sinking of the American cargo ship near Bermuda in October.

The U.S.-flagged ship, owned by Sea Star Line, LLC and operated by TOTE Services, went missing on October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin. The ship was located by a salvage team aboard the U.S. Navy tug Apache on October 31 in about 15,000 feet of water in the vicinity of its last known position near Crooked Island, Bahamas.

The wreck, discovered in an upright position with the stern buried in approximately 30 feet of sediment, was found with navigation bridge and the deck below detached from the vesselThe bridge was eventually located with the ship’s voyage data recorder missing. 

Twenty-eight US crewmembers and five Polish workers were on board.

The new images and video are pare of the NTSB’s accident docket released Sunday. The material includes nine underwater photos and more than 47 minutes of video from the CURV-21, a remotely operated vehicle used to document the wreckage and debris field.

Close up of empty main deck of the El Faro. Photo: NTSB
Close up of empty main deck of the El Faro. Photo: NTSB
Close up view of El Faro navigation bridge. Photo: NTSB
Close up view of El Faro navigation bridge. Photo: NTSB
Top of El Faro navigation bridge structure with missing voyage data recorder, mast and support structures
Top of El Faro navigation bridge structure with missing voyage data recorder, mast and support structures. Photo: NTSB
Corner of deck where El Faro navigation bridge detached
Corner of deck where El Faro navigation bridge detached. Photo: NSTB
Distant view of detached El Faro navigation bridge
Distant view of detached El Faro navigation bridge. Photo: NTSB
Empty main deck of the El Faro
Empty main deck of the El Faro. Photo: NTSB
Photo of side-scanning sonar software displaying the El Faro
Photo of side-scanning sonar software displaying the El Faro. Photo: NTSB

El Faro voyage data recorder capsule on top of El Faro navigation bridgeEl Faro voyage data recorder capsule on top of El Faro navigation bridge. Photo: NSTB

Excerpts from the NTSB video are below:

The El Faro docket is available at http://go.usa.gov/c5vYV.

Additional information and resources are available on the NTSB’s webpage for the El Faro accident investigation: http://go.usa.gov/3Smre.

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