El Faro. TOTE Maritime archive photo via elfaroincident.com


Judge Harvey Schlesinger in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, ruled yesterday that the families of the 33 sailors lost at sea on the El Faro, must file damage claims for their losses by December 21, 2015 as reported by Reuters.

This is another huge blow for relatives still reeling from the loss their loved ones, a few short weeks ago.


Satellite imagery of Hurricane Joaquin October 1, 2015. The SS El Faro was lost in the hurricane around this time, with its final position reported in the northwestern eyewall. NOAA Image provided by the United States Navy. via wikipedia


Reuters: Survivors and bereaved family members in other personal injury cases normally have three years to bring their claims, according to Houston lawyer Kurt Arnold, who has sued Tote on behalf of two seamen’s families.

Judge Schlesinger also halted further lawsuits against Tote and placed stays on those suits that have already been filed.

This is apparently allowed under a 19th century maritime law that could cap TOTE Maritime‘s financial liability to the value of the vessel and cargo after the disaster, or to a value based on the tonnage of the vessel – TOTE has since named the ship’s value at $0.

Read more from Reuters here…


posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee