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Family of El Faro Crew Member Files $100M Lawsuit

As Search Ends, Parents of Lost El Faro Crew Members Face Grim Reality 2:44

The family of a crew member who was aboard the sunken El Faro cargo ship has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the owners of the vessel.

The attorney for the family of Lonnie Jordan, one of the 33 crew members on the El Faro, announced the lawsuit against TOTE Services, Inc, and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico at a news conference on Wednesday morning.

The Coast Guard says the ship sank off the coast of the Bahamas two weeks ago during Hurricane Joaquin.

Attorney Willie E. Gary was surrounded by Jordan’s relatives outside of the Duval County courthouse on Wednesday morning. Gary alleged that the company was negligent, and that it placed more emphasis on making profits instead of protecting the lives of the crew.

“The ship should have never left the docks,” Gary said at the press conference. “The ship was not seaworthy.”

The attorney also claimed that TOTE Services could have used another ship instead of El Faro, or taken a safer alternative route around the storm.

“These families are seeking justice,” Gary said. “They don’t want this shoved under the rug and it won’t be. We are going to do everything within our power to make sure that all the facts of this case [are] exposed.”

TOTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment. TOTE has previously said the captain understood the weather conditions and that he had a “sound plan.”

The NTSB’s investigation of the incident is underway.

The lawsuit on behalf of Jordan’s family is the first to be filed in the cargo ship tragedy.