Last three families of El Faro victims settle with Tote

Tote Maritime has settled the final outstanding wrongful death cases with families of El Faro crew members who were lost in the cargo vessel’s 2015 sinking.

The last three of the 33 families of the victims came to terms with the ship’s owners for an undisclosed sum.

El Faro went down on October 1, 2015, when caught in Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas. None of the bodies of those on board – comprising 28 US citizens and five Polish nationals – were recovered.

The 790-foot ship, broken into two main parts, was located in November 2015 at the ocean floor and its Voyage Data recorder (VDR) was retrieved in the summer of 2016.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) has held three two-week rounds of hearings, the final one of which finished in February this year and included harrowing transcripts from the VDR audio.

Earlier this week the widow of one of the victims revealed she has gathered 11,000 signatures on a petition calling for legislation to make repeats of the El Faro tragedy less likely.

Rochelle Hamm, whose husband Frank perished in the sinking, wants more regulation and oversight of shipping companies and a law to prevent vessels leaving port if similarly bad weather is on their intended route.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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