Friday, January 27, 2012

Update: Financial Compensation for Passengers of the Costa Concordia

According to CBS News, the owners of the Costa Concordia announced earlier today (January 27) that it will offer uninjured passengers 11,000 euros (US$14,460) to compensate them for lost baggage and psychological trauma after the cruise-ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany when the captain deviated from his scheduled route.

The announcement follows negotiations between Costa representatives and Italian consumer groups who say they represent 3,206 cruise ship passengers from 61 countries who suffered no physical harm when the ship ran aground on January 13.

The cruise-line, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp., has also agreed that it will reimburse passengers for the full cost of their cruise, their travel expenses and any medical expenses sustained after the the disaster.

The offer does not apply to the hundreds of crew members aboard the Costa Concordia and the roughly 100 cases of people injured or the families who lost loved ones.

Passengers are free to pursue legal remedies on their own if they are not satisfied with the agreement. Some consumer groups have already signed on as injured parties in the criminal case against the Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, who is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all passengers were evacuated. He is under house arrest.

COMMENT: Additionally, Codacons, one of Italy's best known consumer groups, has retained two US law firms to launch a class-action lawsuit against Costa and Carnival in Miami, claiming that it expects to get anywhere from euro125,000 (US$164,000) to 1 million euros (US$1.3 million) per passenger.

Sixteen bodies have been recovered and another 16 remain unaccounted for and are presumed dead.

Italian Coast guard documents demonstrate that Schettino only sounded the abandon ship alarm an hour after the initial collision, well after the Concordia had listed so extremely that many lifeboats could not be lowered.

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