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Wrongful death lawsuit filed in cargo ship sinking

Posted On: Oct. 20, 2015 12:00 AM CST

A lawsuit seeking $100 million for negligence and wrongful death has been filed by the family of a crew member missing from the El Faro cargo ship, which sank off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin earlier this month.

Lawyers representing the estate of Lonnie Jordan, one of the 33 crew members presumed dead after El Faro went missing en route to Puerto Rico, filed suit against Jacksonville, Florida-based TOTE Services Inc. and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, which operated the vessel, and Michael Davidson, the ship's captain.

The suit alleges that the ship was not in a condition of sufficient seaworthiness to handle a violent storm and that the captain had been warned that there was a tropical storm in the Atlantic intensifying to hurricane strength but failed to take a safe route to avoid the direct impact of the storm.

Saltchuk Inc., the ultimate parent company of TOTE, is a member of the Steamship Mutual protection and indemnity club.

Sources said that international insurers including Allianz S.E., QBE Insurance Group Ltd., RSA Insurance Group P.L.C. and XL Catlin.