Costa bosses could face charges over disaster


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The Independent Online

A court report into the Costa Concordia disaster has blamed the cruise ship's owners as well as its captain for the series of delays and blunders that cost 32 lives.

The captain, Francesco Schettino, is already accused of multiple manslaughter and of abandoning ship before his passengers, after the liner carrying hit rocks near Giglio, an island off Italy, on 13 January.

Eight other people, including three Costa executives, are also under investigation. Judge Valeria Montesfoschi called on experts to help her decide whether to indict the suspects at a hearing in Grosseto, due next month.

In addition to re-affirming the accusations of blunders and dereliction of duty, the dossier accuses executives of failing to take charge.

It says Costa's head of emergencies, Roberto Ferrarini, failed to alert the authorities quickly enough after learning the vessel had serious problems. It adds that if appropriate orders had arrived sooner, the boat would have been abandoned more quickly. Even allowing for the incomplete nature of Mr Schettino's reports from the bridge, the report says Mr Ferrarini "failed to keep his finger on the pulse of the condition of the ship".

Costa said Mr Schettino told its crisis department that emergency services had been informed of the disaster. It added: "It is also clear... that the communication made by the Master to the crisis department were on the whole not timely, partial and confused, not allowing it to scale a clear perception of the seriousness of what was actually happening."