According to new evidence examined at an Italian court hearing on Tuesday, equipment malfunction may have contributed to the Costa Concordia capsizing accident on January 13 that lead to the deaths of 32 people. Court appointed experts reviewed a list of several alleged malfunctions that said to have contributed to the cruise ship accident, including lights that were not working and broken radar equipment.
The Concordia capsized near the Tuscan island of Giglio as it was trying to maneuver close to the shore in a salute. As it was doing the salute, the ship crashed into a rock that tore a gash in its hull. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, was blamed for the disaster and was charged with several counts of manslaughter and abandoning ship. While he admits to making some mistakes, Schettino accused the cruise line, a company owned by Carnival Corp., of wrongfully terminating him following the cruise ship disaster. Schettino went as far as to say in court to two surviving passengers: “I saved your lives and those of many other passengers.”
Schettino’s lawyer Francesco Pepe, said the hearing would show that his client was not solely responsible for the tragic accident.
“Schettino’s responsibility needs to be established and it needs to be established that others may have contributed as well,” he said after the first hearing day.
This week’s preliminary hearings will determine whether or not Schettino should stand trial for his alleged charges. However, the court should also consider what part the cruise line itself played in the tragedy and whether or not the burden of responsibility for the tragic cruise ship accident should be placed on the vessel operator and owner Costa Crociere, and other crewmembers who were accused of failing to properly provide assistance during the evacuation of the ship.
Despite surviving passengers recounting their nightmarish evacuation process, Costa representatives contend the crew did the best they could with the situation.
“The one fact that has been completely underestimated is that more than four thousand people were disembarked in a short period of time — some two hours — and this was done exclusively by Costa personnel,” said Marco de Luca, a lawyer for Costa Crociere, to NBC News outside the courtroom in Italy.
Yet, cruise lines are directly responsible for maintaining the safety of all passengers and crew onboard. When the safety of all who are aboard a cruise vessel is compromised, the cruise line may be found liable for any ensuring injuries or deaths. Our maritime law firm has worked closely with the Costa Concordia case and if you or a loved one were injured or killed in the maritime tragedy, we can help you file a case and fight for your rights. Cruise ship tragedies like this one may be contested in a court of law and you and your loved ones may be entitled to a large compensation for your pain and suffering. Call us today to schedule a consultation and be on your way to filing a claim.