Should the El Faro Search Continue?
According to the Florida Times-Union, since the search for remains of the El Faro container ship was suspended in November, a crewmember’s wife has asked publicly for another one to begin.
The newspaper reports that the Jacksonville woman, whose husband is presumed to have died along with the 33 crewmembers, is preoccupied with resuming a search. “My attention is on … getting a search going,” the woman told the Times-Union. “I know there’s a lot going on, but I don’t want to see this die out.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and U.S. Coast Guard suspended their search for the missing data recorder from the wreckage of the vessel that was discovered. Searchers found no sounds of life when checking the area of about 230,000 square miles around the wreckage by plane. The vessel sank near the Bahamas.
Investigators reportedly found one body in a survival suit shortly after the vessel went missing, leaving the woman to believe that others may have tried to escape the sinking vessel. She said that she admits there might be nothing to find, but that it may be good to find closure in the incident. She is looking for assistance in contributing money, equipment or labor to search some more.
Although searchers said they feel bad for family members of victims, they say there is very little that can be done. “I can understand how victims’ families don’t want to let go. But at the same time, from where we were, we’ve done everything we could do,” a Coast Guard representative said, according to the Times-Union.
The vessel went missing during Hurricane Joaquin—it remains unclear why the vessel was operating during the weather event. Ship wreckage was found beneath about three miles of ocean water, making the search incredibly difficult.
El Faro Family Members Seek Relief
This is a sad reminder of the aftermath that follows many maritime disasters. Often, family members are left wondering what happened when a vessel is lost and bodies of crewmembers are not recovered. Unfortunately, in some cases, there is very little that can be done.
Also making this difficult for family members are deadlines for lawsuits, in which they may seek money to help them recover. TOTE Maritime has filed a counter to El Faro lawsuits in Florida for a Petition for Limitation of Liability. This was done in an attempt to limit the amount of money the operators may have to pay out to victims. Because of this, a court in Jacksonville has ordered family members of victims to file lawsuits by December 21 to pursue claims.
Continue to follow our blog for more news about the El Faro disaster. In the video above, maritime attorney David Anderson discusses Petitions for Limitation of Liability.