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Wall Street Commuter Ferry Operator Settles Crash Claims

By David Voreacos – Oct 30, 2013

The owner of SeaStreak Wall Street, a commuter ferry that crashed in Manhattan’s financial district on Jan. 9, has settled more than 45 personal-injury claims for almost $1 million, according to a lawyer for the company.

SeaStreak settled 40 to 45 claims out of court, covering about half of the 85 injured passengers, attorney William R. Bennett III said today in an interview. Lawyers filed four more settlements this week in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. They ranged from $20,000 to $80,000.

The ferry had 326 people aboard when it left Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, at 8 a.m. on Jan. 9 and slammed into a docking barge at 8:43 a.m., authorities said at the time. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

“SeaStreak, from the very beginning, has listened to and responded to any claimants who made a reasonable request to resolve their claims,” said Bennett, of Blank Rome LLP in New York. “We continue to do so.”

About three dozen people have filed claims in federal court. SeaStreak sued under admiralty law on Jan. 16 and asked to limit the company’s liability to $7.6 million. Claimants seek to defeat that attempt to limit liability. U.S. District Judge William Martini is weighing the request.

The company also has paid about $450,000 to repair the docking barge, according to Bennett.

SeaStreak operates five vessels between central New Jersey and Manhattan, and two between New Bedford and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, according to the company’s website.

SeaStreak is a sister company of Moran Towing Co., the Interlake Steamship Co. and Mormac Marine Group Inc., according to the website. SeaStreak and its sister companies are owned by the Barker and Tregurtha families. James R. Barker acts as chairman of SeaStreak and Paul R. Tregurtha is chairman and chief executive officer of Moran Towing, according to the website.

The case is In re SeaStreak LLC, 13-cv-00315, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

To contact the reporter on this story: David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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