News / Europe

Concordia Captain's Lawyers Seek New Expert Survey of Ship Hulk

The capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies surrounded by cranes outside Giglio harbor, Italy, July 17, 2013.
The capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia lies surrounded by cranes outside Giglio harbor, Italy, July 17, 2013.
Reuters
Lawyers for Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that capsized off Italy's coast killing 32 people, called on Thursday for a new expert survey of the ship's wreck to clarify exactly what caused the deaths.

Schettino faces charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship in the accident in January 2012 when the massive vessel tipped over on its side after striking rocks during a maneuver that brought it too close to shore.

He has admitted a share of responsibility for the accident as captain of the vessel, but says he should not bear sole blame and his lawyers have pointed the finger at the ship's owners Costa Cruises.

Domenico Pepe, a lawyer for Schettino, told the court that none of the 32 deaths were caused directly by the impact with the rocks and that the ship should be examined closely for defects before salvagers turn it upright.

“The people died more than two hours after the impact,” Pepe said in court. “How can we know the truth about those deaths if we do not make checks on the wreck before it is turned upright?”

He said aspects that needed closer checks included the ship's watertight doors, emergency generators which he said failed to kick in, preventing lifts from functioning, and the lifeboats.

The Concordia accident triggered a chaotic night-time evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew from the 290-meter-long ship (951-ft), which still rests on a rock shelf outside Giglio port.

Giglio local authorities are not against a new examination but want it to be done as soon as possible so that the wreck can finally be removed.

“Every day that passes with the Concordia in front of the island increases the damage to Giglio,” Franco Maria Lecci, lawyer for the municipality told the court.

Salvage

Salvagers are hoping to turn the ship upright in September so that they can refloat it and tow it away from the coast by the spring of 2014.

But the tribunal in Grosseto is not planning to decide whether more checks are needed until the next hearing on Sept. 23, when they will listen to experts who surveyed the ship hulk during preliminary investigations.

A lawyer representing consumer group Codacons agreed that a more thorough examination was needed.

“The initial investigation served only to understand the maneuver that brought the ship close to the island, but checks on what happened afterwards, and why there were 32 victims, are lacking,” lawyer Giuliano Leuzzi said.

Prosecutors are opposed to additional checks, saying that the initial investigations were sufficient and another survey would be irrelevant.

Schettino's lawyers said on Wednesday that he would be requesting a plea deal again. He will offer to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of three years and five months, which would allow the complex trial to be resolved more quickly.

A previous offer to serve three years and four months was rejected in May. Five other officials - four ship's officers and the crisis coordinator of the vessel's owners, Costa Cruises - were allowed to present plea bargains for more lenient sentences.

Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp , agreed to pay a 1 million euro ($1.29 million) fine to settle potential criminal charges in April. That means that for now Schettino is the only person facing trial.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs