New Mission Needed to Retrieve El Faro’s VDR
Another mission will be required to recover the voyage data recorder of the sunken cargo ship El Faro, according to the investigative team from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The investigators and scientists aboard the research vessel Atlantis, who located El Faro’s VDR on Tuesday, said that it would not be possible to recover the VDR during the current mission.
“Given the VDR’s proximity to the mast and other obstructions, recovery of the VDR cannot be accomplished with the equipment currently available on the ship,” NTSB said.
Video and photographic images revealed that the VDR appears to remain attached to a steel beam connected to the four-ton mast structure.
“Now that we have been able to see just how the VDR is oriented relative to the mast structure, it’s clear that we’re going to need specialized deep-water salvage recovery equipment in order to bring it up,” said Brian Curtis, Acting Director of the NTSB Office of Marine Safety.
Although there is not yet a confirmed timeframe for the launch of the VDR retrieval effort, the mission could be completed in the next several months, NTSB added.
The current mission will continue to gather imagery of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship’s hull and debris field until successfully completed. Atlantis is expected to depart the site April 30 and arrive in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, May 5.