On the first day of a series of pre-trial hearings that will examine evidence in the Costa Concordia cruise accident case, the captain of the ship has decided to issue a public apology to passengers and their deceased loved ones. Francesco Schettino, who has been blamed for the capsizing of the ship off the coast of Italy in January, was charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship. Thirty-two people died in the tragedy and survivors experienced countless injuries, but the captain believes he did nothing wrong. Yet, he shook the hands of surviving passengers who were in court, apologizing for his actions.
But the surviving passengers and loved ones of those who died in the cruise ship tragedy were not appeased. The Concordia cruise ship capsized on Jan. 13 as it neared the Tuscan island of Giglio. The ship hit a rock which tore a gash in its hull and the captain was blamed for altering the direction of the ship, which ultimately led to the tragic maritime accident. While Schettino admitted he made mistakes, he has accused the company of mishandling the situation after being fired. He went as far as to sue Costa Cruises, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corp., for wrongful termination after the cruise injury incident.
Not only is Schettino facing ridicule for abandoning ship before his passengers and crew were safe, but the fact that he has decided to sue the cruise line for his termination is beyond belief for critics. The captain is in the midst of pre-trial hearings that will determine whether or not he will go to trial. Schettino faces multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship, but he isn’t the only one being investigated. Eight other crewmembers, as well as the ship’s owner, are being accused of contributing to the cruise ship accident. Surviving passengers corroborate that the evacuation process was extremely chaotic and no crewmember seemed to know what they were doing. The bodies of two missing passengers have yet to be recovered as well and the cruise ship currently sits half-submerged near Giglio.
While fingers are being pointed at the captain, it is not just Schettino that needs to be under scrutiny, but the cruise line itself. Because cruise lines are responsible for the safety of their passengers and crew, accidents that occur at sea can result in the cruise line itself being held accountable. Unfortunately, cruise line operators do everything possible to try and avoid taking responsibility when a cruise ship accident occurs, but having a top cruise ship injury attorney on your side will help protect your rights as a cruise injury victim.
The lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are currently representing roughly one hundred passengers and crewmembers injured on the Costa Concordia. We have been representing both passengers and crew who have experienced a cruise ship accident and will work diligently to secure you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve. Call us to discuss your options and to get started on your case today.