The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced plans to meet on December 12, this year, to determine the probable cause of the sinking of the El Faro.
In addition to determining the probable cause of the sinking and any factors that may have contributed to the accident, the Board is expected to vote on recommendations to address safety issues uncovered during the investigation.
The 790-foot vessel set sail from Jacksonville, Florida, on a voyage to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 29, 2015, and sank about 34 hours later near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 crewmembers on board the ship perished in the accident.
The NTSB launched an investigation as soon as the sinking was confirmed, and with assistance from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, the wreckage and debris field was located on October 31, 2015, more than 15,000 feet under the surface of the sea.
Investigators focused on recovering a crucial piece of evidence from the wreckage – the voyage data recorder (VDR), which contained more than 26 hours of audio recorded from the El Faro’s navigation bridge. The VDR was recovered in August 2016 and the 500-page VDR transcript was added to more than 16,000 pages of factual reports and interview transcripts collated for the investigation.
The meeting is scheduled to be held in the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center in Washington, D.C., beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET on December 12. The meeting is open to the public and will be webcast live here.