The voyage data recorder from ‘El Faro’, a US-flagged cargo ship that sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, was successfully recovered from the ocean floor on the evening of August 8, 2016.
The recovery of the capsule ends a 10-month-long effort to retrieve the recorder, which was designed to record navigational data and communications between crewmembers on the ship’s bridge.
Investigators hope the recorder will reveal information about the final hours of ‘El Faro’s’ voyage and the circumstances leading up to the sinking.
“The recovery of the recorder has the potential to give our investigators greater insight into the incredible challenges that the ‘El Faro’ crew faced, but it’s just one component of a very complex investigation,” said NTSB chairman Christopher Hart.
“There is still a great deal of work to be done in order to understand how the many factors converged that led to the sinking and the tragic loss of 33 lives.”
The voyage data recorder will be examined while at sea by NTSB investigators aboard the USNS ‘Apache’, to assess the condition of the device and to ensure proper preservation for readout and further examination ashore.
The VDR will be transported to a NTSB laboratory after the ‘Apache’ returns from sea. Once at the NTSB's lab a team of specialists will examine the recording.