El Faro wreckage map. NTSB image (CC 2.0)


After a 10-month long search, the voyage data recorder from El Faro has finally been recovered. All 33 crew were lost when El Faro sank during Hurricane Joaquin, October of last year

The VDR records navigational data as well as communications between crew and bridge, which NTSB investigators hope will give information about the final, fateful hours aboard the ship.

NTSB photo of recovered El Faro voyage data recorder on the USNS Apache.


NTSB News Release“The recovery of the recorder has the potential to give our investigators greater insight into the incredible challenges that the El Faro crew faced,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart, “but it’s just one component of a very complex investigation. 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 U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the National Science Foundation and the University of Rhode Island have been working with NTSB investigators on multiple missions deployed to locate the wreckage of El Faro and the VDR.

The voyage data recorder will be transported to the NTSB’s lab where a team of specialists will work on retrieving the data and audio information. NTSB will continue to provide updates as the investigation proceeds. For more information visit the NTSB’s El Faro webpage.


posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee