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COSTA CONCORDIA

Survivors Sue Carnival Cruises

Survivors Sue Carnival Cruises Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images

Plaintiffs claim ‘terror of catastrophic injury, death.’

Six passengers on the wrecked Costa Concordia have filed a lawsuit in Miami against the ship’s owner, Carnival Corp. The plaintiffs, four Americans and two Italians, said in the complaint they were “in terror of catastrophic injury, death, drowning, having been placed in a situation where common sense said the vessel was sinking but the orders from the crew were to return to their cabins.” A crew member of the ship also filed complaint on Jan. 26 in federal court in Chicago, seeking at least $100 million in damages as a class-action plaintiff—meaning he would represent all the victims of the deadly shipwreck. The cruise line has offered the survivors of the wreck $14,000 each in damages. Rescuers found a 17th body aboard the sunken vessel early Saturday; at least 15 people are still missing.

Read it at Bloomberg BusinessWeek

COSTA CONCORDIA

Woman's Body Found in Ship

Woman's Body Found in Ship AFP / Getty Images

Death toll up to 17.

Another woman's body was found inside the wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise ship Saturday, bring the number of people confirmed dead to 17. Officials were planning to remove 2,400 tons of fuel from the ocean liner's tanks this weekend, but the operation has been postponed to at least Tuesday because of bad weather. Rescuers are still searching for at least 15 people who are missing. The ship ran aground off the coast of Italy on Jan. 13.

Read it at CNN

Living through a horrifying shipwreck? Priceless. Why no one’s taking the $45 million compensation deal from the Costa Concordia’s owner.

How much is a terrifying experience like surviving a shipwreck worth? The Costa Concordia’s owner puts that price at around $14,500.

Costa Concorida

Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images

At least 3,206 of the Costa Concordia’s 4,200 passengers and crew members will be offered a payout of $14,500 (€11,000) for having had to suffer through the chaotic shipwreck and sloppy evacuation off the Tuscan island of Giglio on Jan. 13. The Genoa-based Costa Crociere cruise company, which owns the Concordia and employed its erstwhile captain, Francesco Schettino, announced Friday that it would offer the sum as a final settlement for those who were not injured in the accident.

Since the wreck, Costa says its representatives in more than 60 countries have been in touch with survivors to offer counseling and to register the value of the possessions they lost when the ship went down. In addition to the settlement, Costa will reimburse the cost of the cruise ticket, cover passengers’ flights home, and pay for additional receipted expenses incurred in Italy in the days after the crash. It will also return all passenger items found in the cabins on the ship when the wreckage is recovered.

COSTA CONCORDIA

Cruise Victims Get $14K Each

Cruise Victims Get $14K Each Laura Lezza / Getty Images

Sixteen people still missing.

The operator of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship will offer a lump sum of $14,400 to passengers to compensate them for lost baggage and psychological trauma, the Italian Association of Tour Operators said Friday. There were about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members on board with the ocean liner ran aground on Jan. 13 off the coast of Italy. Divers found a 16th body Tuesday, but 16 others are still missing.

Read it at CNN

LEGAL BATTLE

Shipwreck Fight Gets Ugly

concordia-cruise-ship-sinking-update-scapegoat-barbie.jpg

The Concordia captain’s wife is crying "scapegoat," and an Amanda Knox lawyer has filed suit. (AP Photo)

With no hope of finding more survivors, the Concordia drama has moved to land—the captain’s wife is crying ‘scapegoat’ and an Amanda Knox lawyer has filed suit. Barbie Latza Nadeau reports.

Two weeks after the wreck of the Costa Concordia, recovery efforts are still underway off the coast of Giglio Island. The giant sunken ship is moving toward deeper waters at a nearly undetectable rate of 1 millimeter an hour. Many of the windows are shattered, and the decks are pocked with holes from micro-explosions emergency workers have set off to reach the bowels of the sunken vessel. Gone is the hope for survivors, says Franco Gabrielli, head of Italy’s civil-protection agency, who is heading the emergency operations. “It's obvious that for all the time that has passed, and given the conditions, finding someone alive today would be a miracle,” he told reporters at his daily press conference. “We have to gradually accept the idea that in those conditions there is no more hope of survival.”

Without the search for survivors, attention has shifted away from Giglio, where the families of the still 19 missing wait in excruciating agony for bad news. Only 16 bodies have been found, and only nine of those have been identified. Authorities are waiting for identifying materials like DNA and dental records from family members, though some of the dead may not have been registered passengers, and emergency workers worry their identities may never be known. “There is a possibility that there were clandestine passengers onboard the ship,” Gabrielli says. “We may not have a complete list.”

Away from Giglio, attention has instead turned to the complicated world of the Italian judicial system. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are sparring with leaked documents. The prosecutors’ obvious aim is to paint a picture of Capt. Francesco Schettino as the careless rogue who took his massive liner for a joy ride, clipping the rocks off Giglio and then ditching his sinking ship full of passengers for the safety of dry land. Schettino’s lawyers are fighting back with their own leaked documents, including court testimony in which the captain told the investigating judge that he had slipped and fallen into the ship and was unable to return because of the mass confusion. There are also reams of transcripts and curiously taped calls that Schettino made in the hours after the crash. “They made me do it,” he was wiretapped telling a friend he referred to only as Fabrizio about why he passed so close to the island. “They were breaking my balls, telling me to go there, to go there. The rocks were there, but they didn’t show up on my navigation instruments.”

Meanwhile, Schettino’s wife, Fabiola, gave an exclusive interview to Italian magazine Oggi in which she told the glossy that her husband was not a “monster” but instead a “maestro.“ This is a manhunt,” she said. “They are just searching for a scapegoat.”

Costa Concordia

Shipwreck Captain Admits ‘Mistake’

Shipwreck Captain Admits ‘Mistake’ Enzo Russo, AFP / Getty Images

"I was convinced … there wouldn’t be a problem."

Francesco Schettino, the captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia, said in a deposition released Wednesday that he made a “mistake,” but he maintained that he ran the ship aground to keep it from sinking. According to reports in Italian media, Schettino said in the 126-page court deposition that he “hit this procession of rock, that almost seems stuck into the ship, but this was my mistake … There isn’t anything I can say, as I was convinced there wouldn’t be a problem.” But Schettino dismissed allegations that he was going too fast, since there isn’t a speed limit. He maintained he ran the ship aground to limit the tilting. Italian media also published transcripts of a wiretapped conversation between Schettino and a friend shortly after the shipwreck, in which Schettino said, “In my place, someone wouldn’t have been so benevolent to go right under there, because they would have pissed me off.”

Read it at CNN

COSTA CONCORDIA

16th Body Found in Shipwreck

16th Body Found in Shipwreck AP Photo

17 people still missing.

Italian divers found another body in the wreckage of the submerged cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, on Tuesday, bringing the official death toll up to 16. The body was found on the third-floor deck, and officials did not confirm the reports in Italian media that the body was a woman. Divers found the body as a large platform carrying a crane and other equipment hitched itself to the shipwreck as part of a preliminary operation to remove 500,000 gallons of fuel from the ship’s tank to prevent environmental disaster. Actual pumping of the fuel will begin on Saturday, in tandem with search and rescue operations. Seventeen passengers and crew members have yet to be accounted for.

Read it at Associated Press

Costa Concordia

Shipwreck Salvage Begins

Shipwreck Salvage Begins Pier Paolo Cito / AP Photo

Oil pumped out of wrecked cruise ship.

Ten days after the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy, salvage operations have begun. The same crew that raised the wreck of the Kursk Russian nuclear submarine in 2000 is inspecting the ship from the inside, while a team outside pumps oil onto a waiting barge. It will take four to six weeks to empty the fuel. Two more bodies were discovered yesterday, bringing the death toll to 15. Around 20 people are still missing.

Read it at Telegraph

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Italy’s Shipwreck Mess

While the sunken Concordia pollutes the coast, persistent rescuers are sharing a mission with a salvage team. Meanwhile, a criminal probe against the captain is widening. Barbie Latza Nadeau reports.

The Concordia is beginning to rust. 

Paint is peeling from the upper decks and each day new debris falls into the water. The deck chairs, which were chained together in storage for the winter cruise, are slowly succumbing to gravity and have been sliding one by one to the railing that is now parallel to the sea. Inside the wreckage the water is thick, contaminated from the mix of odorous chemicals, from cooking oil to engine lubricants, that spilled when the ship capsized on Jan. 13. Divers talk of swimming through a “putrid soup of rotting food and floating sewage” as they search for the remains of nearly 20 missing passengers. Hundreds of seagulls have found their way to the wreckage, where they swoop low over the rescue workers.

Italy Shipwreck

Italian officials recover pieces of furniture from the grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, on Jan. 23, 2012 (Pier Paolo Cito / AP Photo)

Dozens of microexplosions have been set off to open passageways into the ship’s 17 submerged decks, each one releasing the contents into the once-pristine waters off the port of Giglio. Tangled tablecloths are wrapped around the floating chairs and tables that bob in the open waters as sanitation crews now join the emergency workers to clean up the mess. “Imagine that you left for a vacation and the power went off in your house. What would you find in your fridge?” said Ennio Aquilino, head of the Italian fire brigade at a press conference. “The divers are in there.”

TRAGEDY

Cruise-Ship Death Toll Rises to 15

Cruise-Ship Death Toll Rises to 15 AP Photo

Bodies found in Internet café.

Ten days after the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground, rescue workers found two more bodies in the wreckage. The remains of two women were recovered from the vessel’s Internet café. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has been arrested for his role in the tragedy. Meanwhile, Italian officials say there may have been several unregistered passengers aboard the ship, making it hard to say exactly how many people are still missing. The captain, in a leaked interrogation, is now claiming he piloted the ship near the shore under orders from the company as part of a publicity stunt—what he calls a “recurring practice.” Costa Cruises has denied all allegations.

Read it at Associated Press

Cold Comfort

Shipwreck Customers Get Discount

Shipwreck Customers Get Discount Enzo Russo / EPA-Landov

30 percent off future cruises.

Some publicity campaigns do more harm than good. Carnival Corp. is reportedly offering victims of the Costa Concordia cruise disaster 30 percent off future cruises. Meanwhile, Italian officials says there may have been several unregistered passengers aboard the ship, making it hard to say exactly how many people are still missing. The ship’s captain, in a leaked interrogation, is now claiming he piloted the ship near the shore under orders from the company as part of a publicity stunt—what he calls a “recurring practice.” Costa Cruises has denied all allegations.

Read it at The New York Times

EVIDENCE

Ship Search Gets Complicated

Ship Search Gets Complicated FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Reports of unregistered passengers and publicity stunts.

As the death toll from the Costa Concordia shipwreck hits 13, more potentially damning evidence against the company has emerged. Italian officials said Sunday that there may have been several unregistered passengers aboard the ship. Italian news media, meanwhile, released part of a leaked interrogation with the ship’s captain, where he says he piloted the ship near the shore under orders from the company as part of a publicity stunt—what he calls a “recurring practice.” As if that weren’t enough, another portion of the transcript reportedly reveals that the captain says the wooden lifeboats used to ferry people to shore were so cumbersome that they may have hit—and “broken”—a few heads during the disorderly evacuation. Costa Cruises has denied all allegations.

Read it at The New York Times

TROUBLED WATERS

Hope Fades in Ship Rescue

Hope Fades in Ship Rescue Laura Lezza / Getty Images

No Americans, but four were French.

Italian officials have identified eight of the 12 victims of the Costa Concordia disaster. Four of the dead were French, one was Italian, one Hungarian, one Spanish, and one German. There are no Americans on the list, but there are more than 20 people still missing. Hope of finding any more survivors inside the wreckage is fading, although crews resumed rescue efforts Sunday after halting them again overnight. The sunken ship is moving frequently and in danger of tipping into deeper waters off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio. It’s been more than a week since the ship ran aground.

Read it at BBC

COSTA CONCORDIA

12th Body Found in Shipwreck

12th Body Found in Shipwreck Carabinieri / AP Photo

Woman wearing a life jacket in submerged part of ship.

Divers in Italy on Saturday found the body of a woman wearing a life jacket abroad the wrecked Costa Concordia, bringing the official death toll in the crash up to 12. At least 20 others are still missing as hope fades that any more survivors will be found a week after the ship crashed into rocks on the island of Giglio. The woman’s body was found in an area of the ship completely under water, said Francesca Maffini, a spokeswoman for Franco Gabrielli, the head of the civil protection agency in charge of the search. Authorities said they will search all 1,500 cabins of the 114,000-ton ship, but the search remains difficult with the ship in a horizontal position. Sea conditions are calm on Saturday morning, but a forecast of high waves later in the day in the Mediterranean has caused many to worry the ship will be swept out to sea.

Read it at CNN

HOPE

Search Resumes in Shipwreck

Search Resumes in Shipwreck AFP / Getty Images

‘We need a miracle,’ says Coast Guard.

The Italian Navy once again blasted holes Saturday in the side of the wrecked Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that crashed off the rocks of the Italian island of Giglio one week ago. “We will continue searching until all hope is gone,” said Coast Guard spokesman Cosimo Nicastro, although he admitted that “we need a miracle.” As many as 24 people are still missing, and some have held out hope that a person could survive for days in the luxury cruise liner’s cabins. A forecast for high waves in the Mediterranean has caused many to worry that the submerged 114,500-ton ship could sink or be swept out, but port officials said the search would continue while the water remained calm during the day. Experts say the ship is slipping off the rocky sea shelf at a rate of around a quarter of an inch every hour.

Read it at Agence France-Presse