Months after the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of the Italian Island Giglio, the ship’s captain will be attending pre-trial hearings this week, where evidence regarding the events that led to the cruise ship accident will be presented in order to determine if he was at fault.
The tragic cruise ship accident, which took place on Jan. 13, led to the deaths of at least 30 people and countless injuries. The vessel capsized after hitting a rock off the coast and has still to be removed from the accident scene, where it remains half-submerged on the ocean floor. The bodies of two passengers have yet to be recovered.
Italian authorities say there will be at least three days of hearings, which will consider evidence before a full trial that is to be held later this week in the city of Grosseto. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is facing multiple charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship. Eight other crewmembers, as well as the ship’s owner, are also under investigation for their roles in the maritime accident.
According to surviving passengers, the evacuation process was a nightmare. They say crewmembers were not communicating with each other efficiently and the entire process was chaotic. The passengers also allege the crew did not appear to be fully trained on emergency procedures.
Since Schettino did not attend the first hearing that was held in March, the court delayed the subsequent hearings by seven months to give experts more time to collect and review evidence. Schettino has already publicly stated he will attend this week’s hearings, saying “It’s my right to participate.”
The captain has acknowledged making mistakes regarding the tragic maritime accident and contends that once it became clear that the Costa Concordia was in harm’s way, he altered its course. He has also said he was not the only one who should be blamed for the tragedy and last week went as far as to sue the cruise line, which is one of Carnival Corporation’s cruise line brands, for wrongful termination. He believes he did nothing wrong and should not have been let go following the cruise ship accident.
Ten months after the Costa Concordia tragedy, victims are still feeling the lingering effects. Unfortunately, it can take years for victims and their loved ones to obtain justice for a cruise injury incident or tragedy, but having a leading maritime lawyer fighting on your side can help proceedings resolve as favorably as possible.
At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we pride ourselves on representing those who have been involved in an accident on the high seas. Whether the accident took place on a skiff or a cruise ship, our cruise ship injury lawyers will help you and your loved ones obtain compensation for your pain and suffering. When a boat or cruise ship operator fails to provide for the safety of their passengers, they can be held responsible for any injuries or fatalities that ensue. Call our firm today to schedule a consultation and protect your rights.