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Cruise ship survivors launch massive compensation claim

posted 15 Feb 2012, 10:37 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Feb 2012, 10:47 ]

A group of Costa Concordia survivors from the United States and Russia join forces with an Italian consumer group to press for 528 million US dollars in compensation.

Survivors of the Costa Concordia cruise ship tragedy joined a video link-up with lawyers in Rome on Wednesday (February 15) to discuss the consequences of the accident which left 17 people dead and 15 still missing.
Italy's leading consumer group, Condacons, has been named as representative of foreign survivors in pushing forward all legal actions in Italy against the Costa Concordia operators.

Codacons will also be a plaintiff in the trial against the group expected to start soon in Grosseto and has also launched a class action in Miami.

Costa has offered to pay just 11,000 euro (14,500 US dollars), plus a refund and costs of travel home, to the ship's 3,200 passengers. The offer does not apply to anyone who suffered physical injuries. It could not be determined how many passengers have accepted the offer.

"10-11,000 euros of compensation are ridiculous considering the moment in which I could have lost my life..... due to a bad handling of the ship", said survivor Ernesto Carusotto.

"Had it depended on a storm, a tsunami, I could have justified it but such a thing, when you abandon a route sailed for years for a new route this cannot be accepted," he added, referring to captian Francesco Schettino maneuvres at sea ahead of the crash.

Carlo Rienzi, president of Codacons, said his group had just filed another suit also against all the people involved in the Concordia tragedy at Grosseto's Public Prosecutor's Office.

He said action would be taken against the ship's captain and officers who abandoned ship before the passengers, but also against Costa chief executive Pierluigi Foschi and Roberto Ferrarini, head of the company's emergency unit," said Rienzi.

U.S. personal injury lawyer Mitchell Proner was also present at the video conference.

Proner's website claims he will file a suit seeking at least $160,000 in damages for any passenger he represents, and notes that some victims "may be able to collect multiple times that amount."

Carnival Corp, parent of the Italian company that operates the ship, Costa Cruise Lines, has not issued a statement addressing its legal liability. Costa has blamed the ship's captain for straying off course; he has said he was following instructions.