The U.S. Navy used side scan sonar devices to locate the wreck under 15,000 feet of water, and additional equipment will be required to confirm ship’s identity, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The U.S. Navy has located the wreckage of a cargo ship believed to be the El Faro in more than 15,000 feet of water near the last known position of the TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico vessel, which disappeared Oct. 1 near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
A search team aboard the Navy tug Apache used side scan sonar equipment to find the wreckage of a vessel they believe to be the sunken cargo ship. The wreck found “is consistent with a 790-foot cargo
ship, which from sonar images appears to be in an upright position and
in one piece,” said NTSB.
The wreck was found Saturday afternoon during the fifth of 13 planned passes with the sonar equipment. An earlier attempt last week to locate the ship using the ping emitted by its voyage data recorder or “black box” had been unsuccessful.
NTSB said in order to confirm the finding, specialists on Apache will use CURV 21, a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle, to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage. This survey could begin as early as Sunday, Nov. 1.
If the vessel is confirmed to be El Faro, CURV 21, outfitted with a video camera, will document the vessel and the debris field and attempt to locate and recover the voyage data recorder. Those operations are expected to take up to 15 days to complete in ideal conditions but could take longer depending on weather and conditions encountered during the documentation process, according to the NTSB.