(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — El Faro owner TOTE Maritime has filed for protection in federal court from claims it is liable for the deaths of the cargo ship's 33 crewmembers, Reuters reported. TOTE is seeking exoneration from or limitation of liability, citing U.S. maritime law and saying El Faro "was in all respects seaworthy and properly manned" and that it bears no responsibility for its loss. The ship sank off the Bahamas last month during Hurricane Joaquin. If it prevails, the company’s liability could top out at $1 million, or about $30,000 per lost crewmember, according to a lawyer for one of the victim's families.
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