Court-appointed experts are saying the captain of the Costa cruise ship that capsized in Italy was primarily to blame, but have now expressed the belief that the crew and ship owner are also at fault for several mistakes that contributed to the disaster, which resulted in 32 fatalities toward the beginning of the year.
The Costa Concordia, part of the Carnival Corporation fleet, ran aground and capsized Jan. 13 off the Tuscan island of Giglio after Capt. Francesco Schettino took it off course. Schettino was accused of causing the cruise accident, in addition to abandoning the ship before passengers had evacuated and was even blamed with manslaughter.
Eight others are now also under investigation in Italy, with the court in Grosseto ordering an investigation into the incident to determine if any of the suspects should be put on trial. A hearing over the matter has been scheduled for October.
The experts say the problem lies with a series of blunders that ultimately led to the tragedy at sea. Crew members were allegedly not sufficiently trained in emergency drills and some didn’t communicate properly with each other. In addition, the ship’s owner, Costa Crociere, has been accused of delaying an alert to coastal authorities about the emergency, which the cruise line vehemently denies.
Costa is pointing fingers at Schettino, alleging it was his responsibility to alert authorities about the maritime accident, but he contends he did so. Costa has also denied the claims by experts that the crew was not fully prepared to handle emergency situations, saying that the “alleged defects in the certifications of some of the crew” did not affect the evacuation process.
However, the surviving passengers have their own side of the story. They describe the evacuation as being disorderly and delayed. Some lifeboats were unable to be lowered after the boat listed to one side.
Perhaps what everyone can agree on is that Schettino abandoned ship before ensuring passengers – the main priority – were safe. Witnesses say they Schettino was already ashore before many passengers had been evacuated.
The tragedy that befell Concordia passengers could have easily been avoided had those responsible been more careful with their actions. As victims continue to recover and families of those who were lost during the cruise ship accident continue to mourn, it is important for surviving victims and relatives to know that they are entitled to seek legal help.
If you or someone you know was involved in the Costa Concordia accident, turn to our maritime attorneys for immediate assistance in filing a claim to protect your rights. Our cruise lawyers work with international claims and know exactly what needs to be done in order to help victims bring their claim in Genoa, Italy, or in some exceptions, have it reviewed in Florida.
Proceedings for cruise claims of this magnitude will largely be governed by the wording of the passenger ticket, which usually includes information such as a requirement of notice of claim, the filing of a lawsuit within a designated period of time and the location where the lawsuit must be brought. Our firm successfully handled cases against Costa Crociere in both Genoa and the U.S. and we will work diligently to ensure you and your loved ones obtain the compensation you deserve for this tragedy.