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El Faro being investigated by Local Attorney

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El Faro being investigated by Local Attorney

How could this happen to the El Faro? Although I am a full-time attorney, I am also licensed by the US Coast Guard as a Captain. I don't pilot freighters but am very familiar with what it's like to be a captain. Currently, Adsum Law Firm has been requested by a family member to look into the legality of what happened. First, I would like to say that my heart goes out to each and every family member who has to suffer through this tragedy. I have recently been told that the Coast Guard has officially ended their search for any survivors. Here is the El Faro by the numbers. • 735 feet - the length of the boat • 33 - crew members aboard • 391 containers loaded with material bound to Puerto Rico • 293 cars also going to Puerto Rico • 2 lifeboats and several rafts • 50 survival suits • 17 knots or approximately 20 mi./h the maximum speed (fast for freighter of this size) • 140 miles per hour sustained winds of the hurricane • 30 foot seas near the hurricane • 120 miles north of Crooked Island in the Bahamas • 1 human remains found in a survival suit The question remains as to why the ship sailed directly into the path of a category four hurricane. It appears that when the El Faro lost power, it began the list 15°. With the weight of 391 containers possibly containing 40,000 pounds apiece, and 293 cars estimated at 2,500 pounds apiece, and with 140 miles an hour sustained winds it is unquestionable that the ship would be lost. There are several reasons why a captain may make a poor decision to continue onward despite this bleak and known weather forecast conditions. Unfortunately, most of these are financial reasons, putting the entire crew and ship directly in the path of a vicious hurricane. Even our military's nuclear battleships and carriers run from this type of danger. Maritime law is complex and may involve multiple jurisdictions and most specifically the Jones Act. This is also known as a Mariners act of 1920. This federal law enables boat owners to be sued as a result of injury or death to seamen. This act includes provisions for when the ship was poorly maintained, or when the negligence of a captain or crew puts others in danger. Besides the act, there are other laws which may also govern any recovery. Currently, Adsum is working on finding out details, attempting to obtain communications between the boat and others, and determining what relief is appropriate for the families that have lost loved ones. We will keep you posted on this as his ongoing investigation continues. Our deepest condolences to all been affected by this tragedy. - Gust G. Sarris, Esquire and the Staff of Adsum Law Firm


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