Costa Concordia owners fined one mn euro over shipwreck

Rome, April 10 (IANS/AKI) A court in Italy Wednesday fined Italian cruise operator Costa Crociere one million euros over the shipwreck of one of its liners, the Costa Concordia in January last year, in which 32 people died.

Costa Crociere will no longer be investigated for alleged responsibility for the disaster. It will instead aim to take part in the expected trial as a plaintiff.

Judge Valeria Montesarchio of the Grosseto tribunal accepted the plea bargain requested by the Costa under which it accepted limited responsibility for the shipwreck.

Prosecutors have filed charges against six people, including captain Francesco Schettino, and the head of Costa’s crisis unit for tragedy.

The cruise liner rammed into a reef, took on water from a gash in its hull and capsized after the vessel went off course and sailed into rocks close to the Tuscan island of Giglio Jan 13, 2012.

Costa has tried to blame the tragedy on Schettino, who claims that more lives would have been lost without his skilful steering of the ship closer to port after the collision.

Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel before all the passengers were evacuated.

A preliminary, closed-door hearing is scheduled next week at which the judge may decide whether to order a trial.

–IANS/AKI

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