The crew of the Costa Concordia has been awarded the Lloyd’s List “Seafarer of the Year” award for 2012 but the recognition is bittersweet. Not everyone agrees the crew acted heroically and several crewmembers are being investigated for their part in the cruise accident.
“The ‘Seafarer of the Year’ award recognizes the competence, heroism and professionalism displayed by the sailors every day,” said Costa in a statement. The citation for the award also stated that the crew provided “true examples of courage and professionalism” during the dangerous evacuation of the ship, but the same can’t be said about the captain.
The Costa Crocieri (Costa is in turn owned by Carnival Corporation) liner capsized off the coast of Italy near the island of Giglio on January 13 after it struck a rock, which cut open the hull of the ship. As many as 32 people were killed and several others were wounded. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino has been blamed for the disaster and is now facing several charges of manslaughter. He has also been accused of causing the cruise ship accident itself and of abandoning his ship before all passengers and crew were safely evacuated.
While some crewmembers were noted to have in fact acted bravely during the evacuation, the jury is still out on whether the crew, as a whole, responded to the accident in a manner that deserved praise or criticism. Some surviving passengers reported that they were helped by the crew while others complained that the staff scrambled around and were generally unprepared to deal with an emergency of that magnitude.
Although experts appointed by the Italian court to investigate the incident place the majority of the blame on the captain, some crew members – and the ship’s owner – are being criticized for several mistakes that transpired onboard, which contributed to the disaster. A hearing has been scheduled for October to determine if eight other crewmembers that were working on the Concordia should be put on trial for their role in the tragic cruise ship accident. The crew members in question have been accused of being poorly trained regarding emergency situations and of an overall lack of communication during the evacuation process. The ship’s owner, Costa Crociere, is also being investigated for allegedly waiting too long to notify coastal authorities about the incident.
Those who were involved in the Costa Concordia tragedy or any other maritime accident are encouraged to seek legal help immediately with a cruise injury lawyer to protect their rights. Accidents that occur while on a cruise ship or while docked at a port are oftentimes the direct result of negligence – either on a crewman’s part or the entire cruise line. Our maritime law firm works to protect the rights of those injured onboard a cruise ship and will ensure anyone who is found responsible for your pain and suffering is held accountable for their mistakes.