The National Transportation Safety Board believes El Faro, the cargo ship that went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, has been found in the Atlantic Ocean about 15,000 feet below the surface.
The NTSB said the USNS Apache used sonar equipment. The technology first detected the vessel Saturday afternoon.
Specialists on the Apache will use a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage. The survey could start as early as Sunday.
NTSB said the sonar detection is consistent with a 790-foot cargo ship. The vessel appears to be upright and in one piece.
If the vessel is confirmed to be El Faro, the remote will use a video camera to document the vessel and debris field in order to locate and recover the voyage data recorder.
El Faro went missing on Oct. 1 during Hurricane Joaquin. The Coast Guard searched for the boat for many days before the NTSB contracted the U.S. Navy to take over the search.
El Faro had 28 crew members from the United States and five from Poland. The ship was heading to Puerto Rico on Sept. 29 from Jacksonville on a regularly scheduled cargo supply run.
Reports indicate that the ship had lost power, had taken on water and was listing 15 degrees but that the situation was “manageable,” in their last communication, according to ship owner TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico.
Joaquin was a Category 4 hurricane when El Faro got caught in the storm. According to reports, the ship had 391 shipping
containers on board, making it quite top-heavy as it tried to navigate through Joaquin’s 50-foot waves.
Anyone who has spent time earning a living on the ocean knows that this is a risky trade. The unpredictability of the ocean places even the most experienced of sailors and the strongest of ships in constant danger. These conditions demand professionalism from all of the crew members of any sea vessel, whether it is a cruise ship, cargo ship, fishing boat, tugboat, or anything else. Any lack of competence places all the lives on board at risk.
Despite the fact that working on the ocean is inherently dangerous, this fact alone does not absolve the shipowner, captain or crew members from being at fault if one of their employees or fellow workers suffers an injury or death due to negligence.
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