VIAGGI & TURISMO - Rassegna Stampa Estera
giovedì, 27 febbraio 2014
giovedì, 27 febbraio 2014
Costa Concordia Captain Returns to Ship as Trial Examines Generators
ROME — For the first time since the cruise ship Costa Concordia hit a submerged rock and capsized two years ago, killing 32 people, the ship’s captain went back aboard the vessel on Thursday with a team of experts investigating the shipwreck as part of his trial.
The captain, Francesco Schettino, who is charged with manslaughter and accused of causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel before everyone was evacuated, walked onto the vessel to help court-appointed experts inspect the generators that are now above water after a complicated salvage operation conducted last year.
Mr. Schettino’s lawyers have argued that the Costa Concordia experienced several technical failures during the chaotic evacuation of passengers, and that the ship’s operator should also be held responsible, along with the captain, who is accused of steering the ship too close to shore.
“One thing is the accident, and one thing are its tragic consequences,” said Francesco Pepe, one of Mr. Schettino’s defense lawyers. “We can discuss whether the captain is mainly responsible for the accident, but it’s the ship who killed the people.”
On Jan. 13, 2012, Mr. Schettino left the ship as hundreds of the 4,229 passengers and crew members were still trying to make their way ashore with little guidance. In an infamous phone call that night, a coast guard official shouted to the captain to get back on board, but he did not.
On Thursday, the captain vehemently denied that he ever abandoned the ship, and refused to answer the questions of the many reporters gathered on Giglio island. His lawyers have maintained that Mr. Schettino — whose maritime license has been suspended — does bear responsibility for the accident as the ship’s captain, but that he is not the only one to blame.
Almost all of the victims drowned either after jumping into the sea, as the listing of the ship hampered the launching of the lifeboats, or while trying to reach the bridge in elevators that turned into wells, or in other parts of the ship flooded with seawater.
“Costa Concordia passengers were not inmates on a Roman galleon,” said Bruno Neri, one of the experts of Codacons, an Italian consumers’ association. “Some of the emergency functions of the ship didn’t work, and that caused deaths.”
For example, the emergency generator started, but never sent power into the system to help the pumps and the elevators to work, Mr. Neri said. However, Italian prosecutors disagree that the generators’ malfunctioning could be linked to the many deaths.
Mr. Schettino is the only defendant in the trial; four crew members and an official of the ship operator accepted plea bargains last year.