The lawyer acting on behalf of 12 fishermen who died following a collision with the 10,136TEU APL Le Havre says the families of the deceased crew would have received more in a European or Singaporean court, but they were too poor to take the case to those courts.
Advocate Unnikrishnan Chandran Pillai said that the families of the deceased crew had settled for around US$101,000 for each of the crew and a little over US$135,000 for the vessel.
Asked why the vessel was worth more than an individual crew member Pillai said that, the compensation was a “fantastic outcome,” because the crew compensation was based on the crew’s lost earnings, whereas the boat was valued for its resale value.
If the crew’s families had the means to take the case to a European court Pillai conceded they may have received millions of dollars each, “because European courts recognise that there is a value to a person”, which is not based on just their earning potential, he said.
CMA CGM have effectively saved a considerable sum by avoiding a costly and protracted court settlement, even after they have agreed to pay the advocate for his services too.
The APL Le Havre collided with the fishing boat some 40nm west of the Mangalore coast in the early hours of 13 April this year.
Last week, Indian legal expert, Pillai said that an out of court settlement is more likely with the vessel owner Mamantakath Jaffar seeking US$1.7 million compensation for the vessel and a further US$850,000 per crew member for the families of the seafarers.