BRUNSWICK, Maine — The owner of El Faro, the cargo ship that sank Oct. 1, 2015, with 33 crew members aboard while traveling from Florida to Puerto Rico during Hurricane Joaquin, has settled wrongful death claims with the families of three Maine crew members, according to a notice filed in federal court in Florida.
TOTE Services, owner of the El Faro, will pay $500,000 plus economic losses to the families of Dylan Meklin, Danielle Randolph and Michael Holland. The family of Jackie Robert Jones Jr. of Jacksonville also settled this week.
In January, TOTE Services agreed to pay the same amount to the families of each of 10 other crew members, including Capt. Michael Davidson, 53, of Windham.
Among the crew members lost aboard El Faro were five with Maine connections: Davidson, a 1988 graduate of Maine Maritime Academy; Holland, 25, of Wilton, a 2012 graduate of Maine Maritime; Randolph, 34, also of Rockland and a 2004 graduate of Maine Maritime; and Meklin, 23, a 2010 graduate of Rockland District High School and a 2015 graduate of Maine Maritime. Another crew member, Mitchell Kuflik of Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Maine Maritime in 2011.
Representatives of the estates of Holland, Meklin and Randolph agreed to accept $500,000 for pain and suffering damages for those who died when El Faro sank, plus additional, undisclosed amounts for economic losses, according to court documents.
WJXT News4 in Jacksonville reported Wednesday that TOTE has asked a federal judge to limit or release its liability, and company officials have claimed that El Faro was maintained properly and in good condition.
The station also quoted an attorney who represents four other El Faro families, who said TOTE is “use[ing] outdated maritime laws to push these families into settling for much less than they deserve.”