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Five Charged Over Costa Concordia Incident

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 July 2013


Five persons connected to the Costa Concordia incident have been charged with multiple manslaughter by a local court in Grosseto, Tuscany, following the ship's collision with rocks off Giglio island leading to the death of 32 people.

The Costa Cruises employees received sentences ranging from 20 months to 34 months. The company's crisis coordinator, who received the most punitive sentence, was blamed for the chaotic evacuation of the vessel, which has been acknowledged as a key contributor to the high death toll. The Court accepted plea bargains from the individuals, some of whom may not face imprisonment due to Italian concessions for persons who receive prison sentences of less than two years. Instead, they may face unpaid work, or suspended sentences.

An investigation into the disaster pointed out that the vessel's tardy evacuation meant that lifeboats on one side were unable to be deployed as the vessel took on water from a 70-meter hole sheered in the hull.

Costa Cruises has blamed captain Francesco Schettino, who has yet to be sentenced, for his role in the accident. The company claims that Schettino brought the vessel too close to the coastline. When the case resumes in September his legal team will push for a sentence of three years and five months, substantially lower than the maximum 20 years he faces. He claims the deaths were caused by errors in electrical and other safety systems, and argues that the rocks the vessel struck were not on nautical maps.

TAGS: marine

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