Failure of Costa Concordia’s captain to promptly order an evacuation of the cruise ship led to death of 32 people

February 12, 2015 3:40 am

The failure of Costa Concordia’s captain to promptly order an
evacuation of the cruise ship was the sole reason 32 people died,
prosecutors have said in their final arguments in court.
verdict in the 19-month-old trial is expected this week for Francesco
Schettino, accused of causing the January 13, 2012 shipwreck near the
Italian island of Giglio, manslaughter and abandoning ship before all
4200 aboard were safely off.

The partially submerged Costa Concordia on January 16, 2012, off the coast of the Isola del Giglio in . Photo / AFP
Alessandro Leopizzi contended there would have been time for everyone
to survive had Schettino quickly ordered evacuation after the Concordia
smashed into a reef when he steered too close to the tiny island near

Instead, it was “each man for himself,” Mr Leopizzi said of the chaotic, delayed evacuation.
defence has argued equipment problems complicated evacuation, and that
he wanted to steer the Concordia closer to port.His lawyers seek
acquittal for manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Schettino has said the reef wasn’t on his nautical charts.
Co-prosecutor Stefano Pizza described the defendant’s conduct as “reprehensible”.
He urged for convictions on all counts and reiterated the prosecutors’ request for a 26-year prison term.
Frenchwoman Anne Decre, who survived the disaster, was also in court on Tuesday.

Captain Francesco Schettino in court in 2013. Photo / AP
Captain Francesco Schettino in court in 2013. Photo / AP
She recounted how her friend lost her husband and some
survivors developed phobias or can no longer work. “But Mr Schettino is
fine,” Decre told reporters.
Mr Pizza urged the court to teach Schettino to accept his responsibility.
“All this time he has wanted to dump his responsibilities” on others, Mr Pizza said.
Leopizzi noted it took a few hours before the Concordia rolled over
completely on its side, after seawater rushed through the gashed hull.
Eventually the dramatic listing made it impossible to lower some
Some survivors, with no more space in lifeboats, swam 50m to shore; others drowned inside or outside the ship.
Helicopters rescued some stranded aboard while Schettino was already ashore.

Hefty damages sought

for survivors had a last chance yesterday to press the court to award
hefty damages to be paid by the cruise company Costa Crociere Spa.
“Where was Costa Crociere in this trial?” plaintiff lawyer Fabio Targa asked the court.
He represents an Italian couple who were celebrating their wedding anniversary with their two children aboard the Concordia.
He referred to testimony that several passengers resorted to phoning relatives on land after the collision to get help.
cruise company’s land-based crisis unit in conversations with Italian
rescue authorities played down the seriousness of the ship’s problems.
crisis coordinator and four Costa employees from the Concordia were
allowed to plea bargain in exchange for lenient sentences. None of them
served prison time.
Costa Crociere Spa lawyer Marco De Luca
argued in court it was too soon to be able to quantify damages suffered
by survivors as claimed by their lawyers. He said it was up to a civil
court at some point to determine real damages.
Whether the
shipwreck caused lasting damage to the pristine sea around Giglio should
be determined after the cruise company completes its promised cleanup
of the area where the capsized Concordia came to rest, Mr De Luca
Just as Mr De Luca was about to finish on Tuesday
night, he fell ill. Paramedics were called in and he was taken away in
an ambulance.
Judge Giovanni Puliatti adjourned the trial until Wednesday morning, with the defence set for its final arguments.

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