Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Italian Ship Cruise Captain Held Liable for the Drowning Accident Happened Last Friday the 13th

The captain of the Italian cruise ship that capsized last Friday the 13th at Tuscany was arrested on Saturday, January 14.

Allegedly, the cruise ship captain, Francesco Schettino made an unauthorized deviation from its programmed course. According to the Italian ship owner, the accident was purely caused by human error which led to the vessels’ fatal grounding.

Comments from the Luigi Foschi, the Chairman and CEO of the Costa Crociere, the company that owns the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia said that the ship’s captain was already under investigation by the proper authorities. They are concerned as the captain is suspected for manslaughter and on allegedly abandoning the ship before all passengers were safe - a clear violation of the Italian Navigation Code. Under the said provision, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years of imprisonment.

The arrest of the ship captain Schettino together with its first officer Ciro Ambrosio was conducted 24 – hours after the incident. They would be facing multiple charges of homicide and ship abandonment

The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia that was loaded with over 4,000 people on board before it struck into a coral reef, which caused 70 to 100 meters deep cut into its hull not long after setting off from Civitavecchia, a sea port near Rome. As a result, the ship quickly leaned on one side.

The passengers all panicked and rushed to get into the lifeboats where they could be rescued from the sea. As of January 16, six people have been reported dead while sixteen people remain missing.

The Costa Crociere is owned by the largest cruise line in the world – Carnival Corp. that stood by the ship captain despite what happened. The said cruise line would still provide the captain with legal assistance but made it clear that the company had nothing to do with the captain’s behavior.

In a press conference, Foschi explained that every Costa ship has its own routes programmed. He further stated that the alarms went off when ship captain Schettino made an unauthorized deviation. Foschi added that the liner had passed all the safety and technical tests in the 2011 evaluation.

It was on November 22, 2008, that the same ship was featured on the news after trying to enter the port of Palermo, Sicily during a storm and was damaged when it struck the dock. There must be extensive trainings and seminars for all cruise ship crews to avoid fatal drowning accidents among themselves and their passengers.

It is still unclear whether the cruise line, captain alone or both would be accountable for the said drowning accidents. However, based upon the ongoing situation and statements, it seems that the captain alone would be held liable for the all damages that occurred from the incident.

In such drowning mishaps, determining the liable party can be the toughest step in pursuing a lawsuit whether it is a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim. Either way, a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles would be excellent for winning such clients’ claims.