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‘Black box’ of sunken Stella Daisy retrieved

Posted February. 19, 2019 07:56,   

Updated February. 19, 2019 07:56


The Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) of the ill-fated South Korean ore carrier Stella Daisy that sank in the South Atlantic on March 31, 2017, claiming the life of 22 crew members including eight South Koreans, was retrieved in the South Atlantic on Sunday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced Monday that the U.S.-based exploration firm Ocean Infinity’s search ship “Seabed Constructor” retrieved a bridge (wheelhouse) and the VDR at the scene of the sinking in the South Atlantic on Sunday morning. The search ship used low frequency to detect metal, and employed remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to recover the VDR from 3,461 meters underwater. The discovery of the VDR is expected to help verifying the cause of the tragedy, as it carries crucial information such as the time, location, speed, and direction of the ship’s navigation, communications records, and very high frequency (VHF) data.

The search team confirmed the vehicle as Stella Daisy through its IMO number written on the bridge. The site where they located the ship was some 3,407 kilometers off Uruguay, about one kilometer away from the scene where it had first sent off a distress signal. The bridge was found detached from the hull of the sunken ship, which is still being searched.

The VDR has been put in de-ionized water to prevent corruption since retrieved, and will be sent to South Korea once Seabed Constructor completes its first search operations and arrives in the Port of Montevideo late February. “The Korea Coast Guard and the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal will analyze the materials from the VDR. The process is expected to take about a month, but may take longer depending on sound quality and other factors,” an Oceans Ministry official said.

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com