According to the Bangor Daily News, the sister ship of the El Faro, which sank near the Bahamas in October during Hurricane Joaquin, drifted for several hours recently after losing power during a voyage.
The news outlet reported that the North Star, also owned by TOTE Maritime, lost power on November 24, as it sailed from Alaska to Canada. The ship allegedly lost propulsion near Haida Gwaii, a group of islands off the coast of British Columbia, causing it to drift.
Thankfully, the crewmembers aboard the ship were able to restart its engines. However, Canadian Coast Guard members still had to send a vessel out to assist those aboard. The North Star is one of two U.S-flagged, Orca-class roll-on/roll-off cargo ships operated by TOTE Maritime Alaska, the Alaskan division of TOTE Maritime.
Officials with TOTE said that the ship was never at risk for running aground. The incident remains under investigation. It occurred just days before a memorial service was held honoring members of the Seafarers International Union and the American Maritime Officers Union who were lost during the sinking of the El Faro.
What Does the Future Hold For El Faro Family Members?
We are thankful that nobody was injured during the North Star incident. Unfortunately, family members of El Faro victims are grieving right now and having to deal with issues imposed by court deadlines involving litigation.
As we noted in this blog, 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. Additionally, 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 the concept of a Petition for Limitation of Liability. As he notes, maritime law can be incredibly complex, as family members of victims are often asked to meet court-imposed deadlines and fight vessel owners for damages.