Report blames Costa for ship disaster

2012-09-13 19:19
(Vincenzo Pinto, AFP)

(Vincenzo Pinto, AFP)

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Rome - Captain Francesco Schettino is not the only person culpable for the Costa Concordia cruise ship tragedy, in which 32 people died early this year, a leaked expert report suggested on Thursday as it extended the blame to the Costa Crociere company.

Schettino has become an international figure of ridicule after it emerged that he: led the Concordia close to the island of Giglio; caused it to hit a rock and capsize; and abandoned it before all of the approximately 4 200 passengers and crew had been evacuated.

One of the main findings from the report published by the Italian daily La Repubblica is that Costa should have immediately urged Schettino to evacuate the ship - an action that could have potentially saved more lives.

The 270-page confidential document, drawn up by two captains and two engineers, has been required by magistrates investigating the January disaster, La Repubblica said.

Costa's Fleet Crisis Coordinator Roberto "Ferrandini should have promptly suggested to the captain that the ship's stability had been compromised and that he should proceed with the order to abandon ship", one of the published excerpts said.

Management, training

Schettino is due to stand trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. La Repubblica suggested that prosecutors might also like to present charges against Costa's management, based on the report's findings.

The document also charges that some of the crew was poorly trained - an issue about which Schettino had raised alarm two months before the shipwreck, with no response from the company - and could not understand Italian, the official language on board.

The helmsman, an Indonesian national, twice "failed to understand correctly the order issued in Italian by Schettino for the angle at which the helm had to be steered," the report said.

The captain, "amid laughter on the deck," joked in English while repeating his order that "otherwise we go on the rocks", La Repubblica wrote.

In a statement, Costa Crociere, a division of US-based Carnival Corporation, said it was "reserving the right to study" the leaked material "in the coming days", but argued that they should be discussed "exclusively" in court.

It insisted that, on the night of the disaster, Schettino had been "on the whole not timely, partial and confused" in his communications with the company, making it impossible for Costa's management to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

Costa also claimed that the "alleged shortcomings" in some of the crew's training certificates concerned "only a few members who had no active role in managing the emergency"
.

- SAPA
Read more on:    costa  |  francesco schettino  |  italy  |  cruise liner disaster
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