Under direction from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the U.S. Navy's Supervisor of Salvage and Diving will be conducting salvage operations for the wreckage and human remains from EgyptAir Flight 990, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on October 31, killing all 217 persons aboard. The Navy has contracted for the use of the vessel Smit Pioneer through its long-term deep ocean search and recovery contract with Oceaneering Technologies Inc. The Smit Pioneer, typically used in the petroleum industry, is due to arrive at Quonset Point, R.I., at about 1:00 a.m. Tuesday, and will be configured for this operation before departing for the crash site on or about Thursday, December 9. Modifications will include installation of spider-type and clamshell grabs for retrieval of debris from the ocean floor, heavy material handling equipment, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system, a precision navigation system, and nearly 70 large containers for storage of wreckage.
A video and still photo pool of the outfitting operation has been established for about 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 7. Video footage will be supplied by CNN and still photography by The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP.
Of the approximately 90 personnel aboard the vessel, 41 will be Smit Pioneer crew and salvage personnel. The other personnel will include officials from the NTSB, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navy, and Oceaneering Technologies.
Recovery efforts will take place at depths of 240 to 270 feet in an area of less than 1 square mile, about 60 miles south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
The Smit Pioneer is a 522-foot open docktype vessel with a displacement of 14,976 tons.