Ten El Faro Victims’ Families Settle with TOTE Maritime

Ten families of the El Faro victims have reached a settlement with the operator of the ill-fated cargo ship TOTE Maritime, local media said quoting the U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Florida.

The families will receive USD 500,000 each, as well as an undisclosed amount for lost wages and other losses.

Some of the families who settled were of Captain Michael Davidson, Richard J. Pusatere, Keith W. Griffin, Howard J. Schoenly, Roan R. Lightfoot, Jan Podgorski, Piotr Krause, Marcin Nita, Andrezej Truszkowski and Rafal Zdobych.

The remaining 23 families and dozens of cargo owners still have claims pending in court.

The attorneys of the other families said that these “settlements will have no impact on” the continuation of trial as the families seek reasons behind the sinking.

“Cases have to be evaluated separately, and there were good reasons to settle some,” said Jason Margulies, a Miami attorney who represented the families of seven victims, including the families of the Polish crew. He added that reasons for settling these cases do not apply to other families.

El Faro sank on October 1, 2015, after it sailed into the Hurricane Joaquin. The vessel’s 33 crew members, who consisted of 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals, are presumed dead.

Following several lawsuits from the victims’ family members, the company filed for protection from legal claims regarding its liability for the deaths of the ship’s 33 crew members.

World Maritime News Staff