Cruise Ship Accidents, Cruise Ship Law

Costa Concordia Pre-Trial Hearings Continue; Captain Contends He Did No Wrong


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As the Costa Concordia pre-trial hearings continue, the captain of the capsized vessel contends he did nothing wrong. Captain Francesco Schettino has been accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship before all the passengers and crewmembers on the Concordia were safe. The vessel capsized on Jan. 13 near the Tuscan island of Giglio. The captain was attempting to maneuver the cruise ship close to shore in a move known as a “salute,” but the ship struck some rocks, creating a tear in its hull and leading it to capsize.

In court, Schettino went through what happened on the night of the cruise ship accident from his perspective. Schettino gave a step by step account of the orders he had given in the moments that led up to the crash and in the moments that proceeded it. He explained why he did what he did and why he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. Although he admitted to some mistakes, in Schettino’s eyes, he saved people’s lives.

Among the details he recounted, the captain said he had given orders to the helmsman “to turn the ship bit by bit” before it struck a reef. in the moments before it hit a reef, said an anonymous participant at the hearing to AFP. The hearings will continue to examine the incident and recreate the cruise ship tragedy to determine whether or not Schettino should face trail.

Some surviving passengers and loved ones of the 32 people who were killed attended the hearings and said that even now, the trauma of the incident still plays out in their minds. The survivors contend that the moments after the crash were utter chaos and crewmembers seemed disoriented, not knowing what they were doing or how to properly conduct an evacuation procedure.

Although the public eye is on Schettino, a total of ten people are being investigated for their role in the cruise ship crash, including six other crew members and three managers from ship owner Costa Crociere, which is part of the Carnival Corp. fleet.

While no one has actually been formally charged with any crimes, and it could be until January before any real progress is made with the trial. One of the main focuses of the pre-trial hearings will be to determine why the order to evacuate the ship was given a significant period of time after the accident, a delay some say caused several fatalities. Evidence will also be reviewed regarding Schettino’s last minute order to change the cruise ship’s course to carry out the salute. The hearings are expected to wrap up on Thursday. For more information on the Costa Concordia tragedy, visit our Lipcon law firm blog today.

The Costa Concordia cruise ship accident was an example of what can go wrong when there is a lack of communication between cruise ship operators as well as a disregard for passenger safety. All passengers who survived the incident and the loved ones of those who were killed may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is dedicated to protecting the rights of Costa Concordia victims and will see to it that a case is filed on your behalf.

Successful recovery against Costa requires the of an experienced maritime attorney familiar with the ticket contract and how to get around obstacles it may present, including requiring passengers to bring their claim in Genoa, Italy. Our firm has successfully handled cases against Costa Crociere in both Genoa, Italy as well as in the United States and at present, have cases pending against Costa in Italy. We work hard so your Costa Concordia lawsuit can resolve favorably.

Call our maritime lawyers today to discuss your options and file a case.

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