JANUARY 27, 2016 — As the Coast Guard announced the dates for the first public hearing into the loss of the El Faro, news broke that TOTE Maritime had reached settlements with the families of 10 people who died when the U.S.-flag cargo ship sank during Hurricane Joaquin last October.
Media reports citing a January 22 court filing say that each of the families will receive $500,000 for pre-death pain and suffering. The settlements also "included an amount for economic damages well above that" Miami attorney Jason Margulies of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, who represented five of the families, is quoted as saying.
Those accepting the settlements include the families of the ship's captain, Michael Davidson, four of the ship's American crew, and the five Polish riding crew who were on the vessel.
Meantime, the U.S. Coast Guard said yesterday that it will conduct a public Marine Board of Investigation hearing into the loss of the El Faro, and its 33 crew members.
The hearing will be in Jacksonville, FL, February 16-26.
The first hearing session will focus on the pre-accident historical events relating to the loss, the regulatory compliance record of the EL FARO, crew member duties and qualifications, past operations of the vessel and the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue operations.During a later hearing session (date to be determined) the accident voyage, including cargo loading, weather conditions and navigation will be examined in detail.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which conducted its own investigation, will fully participate in the Marine Board of Investigation hearings.