In a few days’ time, the anniversary of one of the world’s most tragic cruise ship accidents will be upon us. January 13 marks the one-year anniversary of the Costa Concordia capsizing, and survivors (as well as cruise industry experts) are still not satisfied with the investigation into the captain’s wrongdoings, nor his seeming lack of regret. The captain, Francesco Schettino, altered the course of the Concordia on the day of the accident, deciding to perform a maneuver known as a “salute” while approaching the Italian island of Giglio. This move brought the ship too close to shore, where it crashed against some rocks, damaging its hull.
The vessel capsized, leaving 32 people dead and hundreds more injured. Meanwhile, Schettino abandoned ship before all the passengers and crewmembers were safely off the vessel, and has been charged with multiple counts of manslaughter for his role in the maritime tragedy. Investigators are also unhappy with the entire tragedy, and all fingers appear to be pointing at Schettino, who has stated that he believes he isn’t as guilty as people presume him to be. In lieu of the memorial events that will mark the anniversary of the cruise ship disaster this weekend, the magistrate who led the investigation into the accident said Schettino maneuvered the Concordia “like a canoe.”
Grosseto prosecutor Francesco Verusio was the first magistrate at the scene of the cruise ship accident last year. His critical remarks come just days after Schettino complained of being portrayed as “worse than Bin Laden” for his role in the tragedy. Schettino is likely to be indicted, but many, including the magistrate, are shocked to see that he has taken very little responsibility for the incident.
In an interview with the Florence edition of Corriere Della Sera, Verusio said Schettino’s role in the cruise ship accident “emerged immediately.”
“It was evident that that he was the person responsible. We could have tried him there on the spot,” explained Verusio. “It emerged that he had been on the bridge of the Concordia, guiding a ship of over 300 meters and more than 4,000 people, as if it were a canoe.”
Next month, prosecutors are expected to request indictments against Schettino, along with five other Costa Concordia crewmembers and three senior Costa Cruises officials for their role in the capsizing. Survivors recounted their experiences during the evacuation, claiming many of the ship’s crewmembers did not know what they were doing, could barely communicate with each other and created an extremely chaotic scene.
A special mass will be held at Giglio’s port at the Church of Saints Lorenzo and Massimiliano, in sight of the wreck. The vessel remains in the waters just beyond the harbor and is not expected to be cleared until later this summer, surviving as a reminder to all that maritime safety should be the number one concern for all cruise ship operators.
The attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. offer representation to any survivors of the Costa Concordia tragedy as well as families of the deceased. We strive to protect the rights of victims and their loved ones and endeavor to obtain damages for our clients’ pain and suffering. Call us today to discuss your options in filing a Costa Concordia lawsuit.
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