Navy Positively Identifies El Faro: Sunken Ship Found Upright, Relatively Intact Underwater

El Faro fround

Just one day after the Inquisitr carried a report that talked about the discovery of a large vessel that resembled the missing ship, “El Faro,” on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, we now have confirmation that the vessel is indeed the ill-fated “El Faro.” According to a CNN report, the U.S. Navy has positively identified the sunken ship as the El Faro.

The ship, which disappeared on October 1 during the onslaught of Hurricane Joaquin, was found using a remotely controlled submersible that was used to track several thousand square miles of the ocean floor. According to Navy Spokesperson Christopher Johnson, the wreckage of the El Faro was found nearly three miles below the ocean surface. The ship was reportedly found in an upright position and was relatively intact for a ship that sank in a violent storm.

El Faro last known location
Search crews that were trying to locate the El Faro for nearly a month found a wreckage that closely resembled the 790-foot cargo ship. The next step was to positively identify the vessel, which they have managed to successfully complete. Meanwhile, The National Transportation Safety Board has announced that they would continue to survey the area around the wreckage in order to recover the data recorder of the ship which could possibly help investigators understand as to how and why the El Faro was lost. Senior NTSB official Peter Knudsen added that they have no plans to recover the ship.

“The ship will certainly not be recovered; the ship is going to stay there. The containers are too deep to do any kind of recovery mission.”

However, he added that attempts would be made to recover human remains from the ship, if found.

Rescue workers will use the CURV-21, the same remotely operated, deep ocean vehicle that was used to find the resting place of the El Faro to look for the data recorder. The recorder, just like on an aircraft, is designed to record all technical data, crew conversations from the bridge and several other vital pieces of information that include the engine performance and rudder movement during the final moments of the ship. They are hopeful of retrieving the data recorder because of the fact that the ship has landed on the ocean floor in an upright position. It would have been a challenging task to retrieve it from an upside-down vessel.

“We do know the ship, from the sonar-generated images, does appear to be upright, so that’s encouraging,” Knudsen said while also adding that the recovery mission could take as long as 15 days, good weather conditions permitting.

According to Jim Staples, a ship captain and maritime consultant based in Norwell, Massachusetts, investigators would also be closely looking at the wreckage to identify signs of damage and other clues that would help them ascertain why the El Faro sank. They would also be checking if the ill-fated crew members had time to deploy life rafts.

“There may be a telltale sign like her back is broken or that she’s split in half and that caused a quick sinking,” Staples added.

As of now, what we know is that the El Faro’s captain, Michael Davidson had called in a few hours before the ship disappeared and had informed that the ship had lost its engine power and that the vessel was taking on water. This happened on the day tropical storm Joaquin had metamorphosed into a category 4 Hurricane. The El Faro, which was on its way from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico was trapped in the eye of the storm and the nearly four decade old vessel was completely overcome by the strength of the hurricane. After the El Faro went missing, a massive search and rescue effort was conducted that only managed to find floating debris and a body in a survival suit.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]