El Faro Owners Hit With Second Lawsuit Over Tragedy

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 71
October 20, 2015

SS El Faro. Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Capt. William Hoey


The family of one of the 33 missing crew members of the ill-fated El Faro has filed the second lawsuit related to the tragedy against the owner and operator of the ship.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed Monday by Jacksonville-based law firm Pajcic & Pajcic on behalf of Tina Reihm, wife of El Faro’s 3rd Mate Jeremie Harold Riehm, against TOTE Services Inc. and Sea Star Line.

Unlike the first lawsuit filed last week by Stuart, Florida attorney Willie Gary, the lawsuit filed Monday does not ask for a specific amount. Gary’s lawsuit, which lists the defendants as Tote Services Inc., Tote Maritime Puerto Rico and El Faro captain Michael Davidson, asks for $100 million in damages.

The Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic has said previously that they are representing several individuals who had family members working on the missing cargo ship.

The El Faro sank off the Bahamas on October 1 in Hurricane Joaquin with the loss of all 33 crew members. The last communication from the 737-foot-long roll-on/roll-off ship reported that ship had taken on water, was listing 15 degrees and had lost propulsion while beset in Hurricane Joaquin.

The U.S.-flagged El Faro is owned by Sea Star Line, LLC (now TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico) and operated by TOTE Services, Inc.. The Ship had been serving on the Jones Act route from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On Tuesday, the NTSB released new details from its investigation into the sinking, including details about the ship’s maintenance history and details about what turned out to be last communications from the ship and its crew. 

On Monday, a U.S. Navy tug departed Norfolk, Virginia to search for the wreckage of the cargo ship. The search area has been narrowed to 100 square miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas in water depths up to 15,000 feet (4,572 meters), the U.S. Navy said.

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