Wednesday, April 27, 2016
VDR FROM SS EL FARO FOUND APRIL 26, 2016
As a Maritime Consultant data crosses my desk which leads to consideration of maritime incidents as an independent investigator. Such was the case with the find yesterday Tuesday April 26, 2016 of the VDR of the SS EL FARO. The search had been abandoned by the NTSB no doubt much to the relief of the USCG, TOTE the vessels owners and U.S. maritime Unions involved. Their overall incompetence and the behaviour of the vessel's all American crew and Master in severe weather with in addition the several Polish workers on board for whose lives they were responsible is to say the least questionable. At the insistence of U.S. Senator Nelson (D) of Florida the search was resumed by the NTSB.
The persons who contacted me have suggested that the VDR was deliberately detached from the vessel and dumped prior to the sinking with a view to hiding the recorded evidence of the voyage. The last service record on this VDR does not clearly record if its battery was replaced. According to the manufacturer this could mean there is in fact no record available on the VDR because the battery had expired. This of course will not be known until the VDR is recovered and examined. Thus a possible planned cover-up could still be successful.
Well at first glance this seemed a conspiracy theory and wild speculation. However on examining the photos of the placement of the VDR where and how it was attached to the vessel and how it could be released from its stowed position the picture changed. In a photo originally published after the event the VDR is seen attached not to the signal mast as described in articles about the event but to a deck girder. There are two stainless steel bands with finger hooks which if pulled appear to release the VDR and it is disconnected from the girder. The underwater video appears to show the VDR unattached to any of the ships other structure.
Now the speculation is not so wild as it first appeared - who would want to do such a thing? It was further suggested that a "Senior Officer" of the vessel performed this operation for reasons known only to that person. Sadly all 33 persons on board were lost at sea when the SS EL FARO sank and so this theory is pure speculation but clearly a definite possibility.
In view of the seriousness of this possibility comments will be entertained and if professional answered.