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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More