UPDATE: Data Recorder For Sunken Cargo Ship To Stay On Ocean Floor — For Now

Apr 26, 2016

El Faro’s voyage data recorder will stay on the ocean floor for now.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday the research vessel used to find the missing recorder isn’t equipped to get it to the surface.

They hope to be able to retrieve it in the next couple of months.

Searchers located the missing data recorder for the sunken cargo ship El Faro, the NTSB announced Tuesday.

The recorder was found Tuesday morning during a search launched from Charleston, South Carolina, last week. It was the second search of the sunken vessel.

The cargo ship was on its way from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico in October when it encountered Hurricane Joaquin and sank off the coast of the Bahamas in 15,000 feet of water, killing all 33 crew members.

El Faro’s hull and two upper decks were found during an initial search in November.

Next month’s Coast Guard hearing into the sinking of El Faro will go forward despite not having the cargo ship’s voyage-data-recorder.

Federal officials wrapped up the first round of hearings in late February. A third round of hearings was announced Tuesday by the Coast Guard. Time and place has not been decided.

After the first search for the recorder came up empty, Sen. Bill Nelson urged investigators to continue looking.

MORE | Watch Nelson's comment below

“This could be a big break for investigators as they try to understand what caused the El Faro to sink,” said Nelson in an emailed statement. “The information stored on this device could be the key to determining not only what happened, but also what can be done to ensure that it never happens again.”

Following the tragedy, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Joaquin for all future storms.

In a statement from the owner of El Faro, TOTE. 

"We hope that the information contained will help with the goal to learn everything possible about the loss of our crew and vessel," it stated. "We look forward to the NTSB report and welcome safety related recommendations that benefit our seafarers; there is no more important legacy for our employees and their families."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a quote from TOTE. ... This article was updated Wednesday with a statement from NTSB release about retrieving the data recorder. 

WJCT Reporters Ryan Benk and Cyd Hoskins contributed to this report.