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.
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.


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

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs