MIAMI (Reuters) -- U.S. authorities confirmed on Monday that a large vessel found on the deep ocean floor off the Bahamas is the lost cargo ship El Faro, which sank with 33 mostly American crew in a hurricane last month.
The National Transportation Safety Board had said on Sunday it would be using a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle, CURV-21, to survey and confirm the identity of the ship.
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The wreckage, in an upright position and intact, was found at a depth of nearly three miles (5 km) on Saturday in the vicinity of its last known location off Crooked Island in the southeastern Bahamas.
A Navy salvage team had been searching the area for more than a week and will now seek to retrieve the ship's voyage data recorder -- similar to an airplane's black box -- as part of an investigation into its loss, according to the NTSB.
The El Faro disappeared on Oct. 1 on a regular weekly cargo route between Florida and Puerto Rico after the captain reported losing propulsion and taking on water. The crew included 28 Americans and five Poles.
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The cargo ship's owner, Tote Inc, is facing four lawsuits filed by relatives of the crew, alleging the ship was not seaworthy and charted a course too close to Hurricane Joaquin.
Tote filed for liability protection in a federal court in Florida on Friday, citing U.S. maritime law and saying the ship was "seaworthy and properly manned" and that the company bears no responsibility for its loss.