Over the past couple of weeks, we have been blogging heavily about the El Faro wreck, as it is the worst cargo shipping disaster involving an American-flagged vessel in more than three decades.
With this in mind, the Seattle Times recently had a report about the details involved with the El Faro recovery effort that included an interview with David Gallo of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The news source noted that before it sank, the El Faro was expected to return to Washington to make runs to Alaska for TOTE Maritime Alaska.
Gallo noted that after wreckage has been spotted following a maritime disaster, the next recovery step includes using a robot called a CURV to document items that have been found and describe them for investigators. He mentioned how the goal is ultimately to find the data recorded aboard the vessel and collect forensic information.
When asked about ocean conditions, Gallo mentioned that the El Faro is sitting in about 3-miles of water. “That’s even deeper than the Titanic. There may be some ups and downs, some bumps, but I think the sea floor should be fairly easy to work with in that area,” Gallo said, according to the Times.
Gallo mentioned how it is odd that the wreckage found is sitting upright. He said that in many cases, ships are crushed by pressure, so he suggested that the hull might have filled quickly with water before the vessel sank.
He also said that it would be difficult for investigators to get into the ship due to the depth of the water to find human remains. “They are going to have to find a way in and if they can’t find a way, they have the ability to cut their way in,” said Gallo.
Seek Expert Counsel Following a Maritime Accident
As we noted last week, the discovery of El Faro wreckage brings mixed blessings for the families of the 33 crewmembers who were aboard the vessel. An investigation into the wreck could take several years to complete and there will be many uncertainties over the upcoming months as the agencies involved in the recovery process decide how to best move forward.
During this difficult time, it will be important for family members to seek out experienced maritime counsel to pursue lawsuits. Sea Star Lines, d/b/a, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico and Tote Services, Inc. has already filed a Petition for Limitation of Liability in an attempt to limit its liability for the disaster. Family members will want to make sure that they can prove that the entities were negligent in operating the vessel in poor weather caused by Hurricane Joaquin or that the vessel was unseaworthy at the time it left port.
Our nationwide maritime attorneys assist family members of offshore disasters. We have the skills and experience necessary to build a strong case for negligence and/or unseaworthiness following an accident.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys