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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs