The Costa Concordia tragedy, which has left 12 dead and 20 missing, has taken an interesting turn. The company that owns the ship, Costa Cruises, has offered victims of the tragedy discounts for future trips on their cruise ships. One survivor of the accident, from Britain, called the offer insulting. Less than two weeks following the disaster, quite a few pieces of information have been released. This information includes the following:
A log on the ship shows that Francisco Schettino, the ship’s captain, left the ship four hours prior to the final passenger left the ship. A voice recording showed that the captain pledged to be the final person on the ship, which shows erratic behavior that he lied to investigators. The ship’s safe was recovered by divers from the captain’s cabin alongside the body of a woman found submerged in the corridor.
Costa Cruises operates the Concordia and the parent company is Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator. Costa sent letters to the ship’s passengers that detail how they can claim lost valuables and telling them about a full refund for their trip. There will be lawsuits in the United States and in Italy, according to multiple lawyers, as over 100 passengers have already joined a class action to be lodged in Miami soon.
A Costa Cruise spokesperson said that, “The company is trying to do everything they can for those passengers directly affected. The company is not only going to refund everybody but they will offer a 30 per cent discount on future cruises if they want to stay loyal to the company.”
One of the survivors, Brian Page of Southampton, said that he survived the crash by sliding from one side of the deck to another to find a lifeboat. “It is a ridiculous and insulting offer. I’m very disappointed in them. They are not accepting their responsibilities at all. Our only back-up is separate legal action.”
Captain Schettino has had the majority of the blame laid on him by Costa Cruises because he steered the ship on to the rocks and then abandoned ship prior to all of the passengers exiting safely. Lawyers for the ship’s passengers will argue that ships within the company regularly deviate from their correct route.
The head of the travel law team at Irwin Mitchell, Clive Garner, represents at least one passenger from Britain. He said, “I would advise Carnival to desist from doing this. In other large-scale incidents, defendants have been very keen to liaise with victims early on with a view to making low offers of settlement.”
A personal injury partner from Field Fisher Waterhouse, Jill Greenfield, said, “The poor people on this ship will still be in shock and not yet realize what they have been through. It may be that Carnival are genuinely trying to help but what they should be doing is telling these people to get some legal advice.”