VIDEO: NTSB finds El Faro VDR

APRIL 26, 2016 — The National Transportation Safety Board reports that the voyage data recorder from the TOTE ship El Faro was located this morning in 15,000 feet of water, about 41

NTSB starts new search for El Faro VDR

APRIL 18, 2016 —The National Transportation Safety Board plans to resume its search for the vessel data recorder from the TOTE vessel El Faro, which sank in the Atlantic during a hurricane

NetWave signs 36-vessel VDR fleet agreements

APRIL 17, 2016 — Zoetermeer, Netherlands, based voyage data recorder specialist NetWave Systems B.V. reports that it has received orders from Abhu Dhabi headquartered Mutawa Marine Works LLC and another UAE offshore

NTSB to launch new search for El Faro VDR

FEBRUARY 12, 2016 — The National Transportation Safety Board is to launch a second expedition to search for evidence in its investigation of the loss of the TOTE cargo ship El Faro,

El Faro wreck is missing bridge, VDR not found

The NTSB said yesterday that the Curve 21 remote operated vehicle (ROV) was used to identify the wreck found off the Bahamas at a depth of about 15,000 feet as that of the TOTE ship that went missing on October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin.

The NTSB has contracted with the U.S. Navy to locate the El Faro, document the wreckage and debris field and recover the voyage data recorder (VDR).

The Curve 21 ROV documented both the port and starboard sides of the vessel.

The vessel is oriented in an upright position with the stern buried in approximately 30 feet of sediment.

 The navigation bridge and the deck below have separated from the vessel and have not been located. The team has reviewed sonar scans of the nearby debris field and has not identified any targets that have a high probability of being the missing navigation bridge structure.
The voyage data recorder has not been located.
Future plans are to redeploy the Orion side scan sonar system to generate a map of the debris field to locate the navigation bridge structure.

Navy tug on way to seek El Faro wreckage and VDR

The tug is deploying to a search area northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas island chain, which is the last known location of the vessel.

The initial search area is 100 square miles, and water depth is estimated to be 15,000 feet across the expected search area. Transit to this search area is expected to take four-to-five days due to weather.

Apache is equipped with several pieces of underwater search equipment, including a voyage data recorder locator, side-scan sonar and an underwater remote operated vehicle.

The Navy’s mission will be to first locate the ship and then, if possible, to retrieve the voyage data recorder (VDR) – commonly known as a black box.

The U.S. Navy operates some of the world’s most advanced underwater search and salvage systems. Though this equipment is typically used to search for and recover downed military ships and aircraft, the Navy has a long history in assisting other federal agencies in underwater search and salvage operations, including the search and recovery of TWA 800 and the space shuttle Challenger. In 2013, the Navy assisted the government of Australia in its search for missing Malaysian Airliner MH 370.

USN Apache is a fleet ocean tug operated by the Military Sealift Command. The ship provides towing, diving and standby submarine rescue services for the Navy.

The ship is 226 feet long and has a crew of approximately 22 civilian mariners and uniformed Navy personnel.
The crew will be joined by a team from the Navy’s Supervisor of Diving and Salvage.

Also on board is the NTSB Investigator-in-Charge, Tom Roth-Roffy, and representatives from the USCG, TOTE and ABS, all parties to the NTSB investigation (see new story).

The Coast Guard to suspend search for survivors

OCTOBER 7, 2015—The U.S. Coast Guard has told family members of the crew of the lost cargo ship El Faro that it will suspend the search for survivors at 7 PM ET.

P&I Club says crews need to know more about VDR testing

JUNE 18, 2015 — Ships’ officers and crews need to be more aware of the testing requirements for voyage data recorders, says the London P&I Club after investigation by its loss prevention

P&I club says VDR data should be preserved

OCTOBER 24, 2014 — Failure to preserve Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) data in the event of an incident can compromise the owner’s position in the event of a claim, says the London

German-flag ships closer to getting armed security

JUNE 21, 2013 — The German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) says that, starting immediately, private security firms operating in Germany and abroad can apply for approval with the German Federal Office of Economics