Thursday, April 11, 2013
Costa Fined - No Criminal Charges in Italy for Concordia
Costa Cruises has made a €1 million ($1.3M) plea bargain settlement with an Italian court to limit its criminal liability for the capsizing of the Costa Concordia last January with the loss of 32 lives. This move means that Costa Cruises will not face any more criminal charges and will now aim to participate in the forthcoming trial as an injured party opening the door for the company to seek damages for the loss of the ship.
A judge in Tuscany accepted the plea agreement for Costa Crociere, a division of Carnival Corporation in connection with the shipwreck off the island of Giglio in January 2012.
Legal proceedings will continue Monday with a hearing to determine whether six of the line’s employees including Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, and Mr Ferrarini, the company's crisis management chief. Captain Schettino is expected to be indicted for multiple charges including manslaughter and abandoning ship before his passengers.
Although Costa Cruises has paid only €1 million in order to limit its criminal liability, the civil costs will be very much higher. Costa still faces civil lawsuits by the relatives of passengers who drowned while trying to flee the ship, as well as by survivors who have turned down the firm’s starting offer of about €11,000 per person in compensation. Italian consumer group Codacons had advised passengers to reject the offer and instead called for a €125,000 minimum for each passenger.There has been at least one seven figure settlement already to the youngest victim of the shipwreck, a 5 year old boy.
Meanwhile, salvage operations continue off the cost of Giglio. By late summer it is hoped that the ship will be floated off the rocks.
For Complete Coverage of this tragedy see the following blog post: