Three More El Faro Families Settle

By MarEx 2016-06-01 18:55:46

Earlier this week, three families of El Faro crewmembers reached $500,000 settlements with the ship’s owners.

Representatives for Roosevelt Lazarra Clark, 38, Frank Hamm III, 49, and James Phillip Porter Jr., 40, each reached settlements for damages with Tote Services and Tote Maritime Puerto Rico. The amount of $500,000 was accepted as compensation for pre-death pain and suffering plus “an agreed upon amount for pecuniary (economic losses) damages covering the estate’s full economic loss.”

Settlements have now been reached with representatives of 21 of the 33 crewmembers families: 10 in January, four in March, four in April and three in May.

The Florida District Court document is available here.

The 790-foot (241-meter) El Faro, owned by Sea Star Line LLC and operated by TOTE Services, went down off the Bahamas on October 1 last year while on a cargo run between Florida and Puerto Rico. It was the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than three decades.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board hopes to recover the voyage data recorder from the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during a hurricane killing all 33 crew on board, over the next two to three months.

A surveillance trip to the site where the ship sank last year, some 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) below sea level off the Bahamas, pinpointed the location of the recorder on April 26.

It should contain navigational data and the last 12 hours of audio on the ship's bridge, Brian Curtis. In his final transmissions, El Faro's captain reported that the ship was losing propulsion and taking on water.

Company executives have said the decision to attempt the voyage and set the ship's route, despite the dangers posed by a severe storm, were the responsibilities of the captain.