A $100 million lawsuit was filed in Florida on Wednesday on behalf of Lonnie Jordan one of 33 crewmembers that was aboard missing Cargo ship El Faro. The El Faro went missing and is likely to have sunk off the coast of the Bahamas around Oct. 1 during the violent rage of Hurricane Joaquin.
The lawsuit is against Michael Davidson, the captain of the Vessel, TOTE Services Inc and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, who own the vessel. TOTE have declined to comment while the accident is being investigated but did say that Capt. Davidson had a ‘’sound plan” to make it to the vessels final destination in Puerto Rico and avoid the storm, but his plans were obstructed due to machine failure.
Attorney Willie E. Gary who is representing the Jordan family said, ‘’This company placed more emphasis on profits than the safety of those on board this ship and as a result, lives have been lost.”
Gary claims that the vessel was 40-years-old and not safe to make the voyage. Hurricane Joaquin produced 50-foot waves and winds at over 100 miles per hour. The company had the option of using a ship that was in better shape, Gary continues, but the company did not want to use it for fear of losing profits.
Gary told Reuters.com that he would be seeking the ship maintenance records and had heard that it was undergoing mechanical repairs the day it departed.
“Why were Lonnie and his coworkers sent into that storm?” his mother said in a release, ‘’I never thought I would see the day when a company with such loyal employees would place more emphasis on making a dollar than protecting a life.” Jordan’s family told Jacksonville Times-Union that he had worked as a cook on the vessel and had been with the company for 13-years.
After recovering only one body from the debris and wreckage of the vessel, The U.S Coast Guard called off the search last week.