John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 23, 2013, 2:41pm

GALVESTON - The family of a man who died in the December 2010 sinking of a commercial fishing vessel off the coast of Galveston has taken the man's employers to court.

A lawsuit filed Sept. 18 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas blames Capt. Quina Inc.; company vice president Mario Adalberto Contreras, of Brownsville; and San Benito resident Juan G. Rodriguez for Arturo Hernandez Zuniga's death on Dec. 2, 2010.

The decedent piloted the CFV Mario Arturo II prior to the events that are now the focus of the suit.

The vessel set sail on or around Dec. 1, 2010, and according to recent court documents, began taking on water.

"The vessel's de-watering equipment was not able to keep up with the rate of flooding, and the vessel sank... roughly eight miles offshore of Galveston, Tex.," the original petition explains.

Zuniga, who was married with a young child, "died as a consequence of having to abandon the vessel when it sank."

Coast Guard investigators and marine inspectors determined that the hull was in poor condition and that an incident had occurred in the preceding 18 months which caused damage to the rudder assembly, the suit says, adding "the watertight envelope and internal compartment watertight integrity of the vessel failed."

It is also reported that the Mario Arturo II had an extensive deficiency history dating back to as far as January 2009.

Consequently, Zuniga's estate seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Attorney Francis I. Spagnoletti of Spagnoletti & Co. in Houston is representing the complainants.

Case No. 3:13-CV-338

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