NTSB search resumes today for the sunken El Faro cargo ship


The National Transportation Safety Board is set to resume its search today for the critical data recorder from the sunken El Faro cargo ship.

The 790-foot freighter sank during Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015, after leaving JAXPORT in Jacksonville, bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico. All 33 of the El Faro’s crew died at sea.

The NTSB says purpose of this second search is not only to find the ship’s vessel data recorder, but also better document the wreckage to help determine exactly why and how the ship sank.

In addition to navigational data, the ship’s so-called “black box” also contains voice data.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the NTSB, has been vocal about the need to keep searching.

“Finding the El Faro’s missing data recorder is critical to understanding what went so tragically wrong that day,” Nelson said in a statement. “We owe it not only to the families of the lost mariners aboard the El Faro but to the future safety of all those who travel on the high seas to understand what happened and what we can do to ensure that it never happens again.”

The latest search effort will begin Monday when a “research vessel” departs from Charleston, S.C., and heads to the wreckage site near the Bahamas.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


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