Costa Concordia Clarified

The tragedy of the crash of the Costa Concordia off Tuscany’s Giglio Island last month remains a nightmare for the passengers and crew, as well as the island’s natives and all Italians.

The media offered a myriad of suggestions and opinions on what Captain Francesco Schettino was doing immediately before and after the crash. Reuters reported that he steered the vessel close to the island for a traditional ‘ship salute’. There are also rumors reported by the Telegraph that suggest he was dining with a female companion while the ship was sinking.

CNN reported on Monday, February 6, that Schettino now claims he ‘fell’ onto a life boat during the chaos that erupted after the cruise liner began to capsize on the night of Jan. 13. Italian newspapers Corriere Della Sera and La Repubblica published wiretapped phone calls in which Schettino tells a friend that he knowingly abandoned the ship.

A three-day trial began Monday to decide if he will remain on house arrest. Three judges will decide if the captain will be jailed while awaiting trial for charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship according to CNN. The Telegraph reports that Schettino could face a sentence of 2,500 years, eight years for each of the 300 passengers he left on the ship which carried around 4,200 people.

The lawsuits against Costa Cruises are numerous.

According to The Guardian, the cruise company has agreed to pay each passenger $14,500 if they don’t sue; in a civil suit in Florida six passengers have sued Costa Cruises’ American parent company Carnival for $460 million together.

An Italian woman, who miscarried days after the accident, is suing for $1.3 million according to the International Business Times.

Giglio Island natives remain worried about the pollution to their pristine waters; they are also threatening to sue Costa Cruises according to The Telegraph.  It’s projected to take 10 months to remove the ship, while the AP reports  there’s concern that pirates will begin to ravage the wreck for jewels, cash and priceless artworks. The site remains off limits with 16 bodies still missing.

Many Italians find this tragedy introduces yet another reason for the country to be ridiculed from afar, while some see it as a metaphor for Italy’s economic situation now.

Economist Mario Deaglio writes in La Stampa that ironically the result of what’s happened to the Concordia is “una nave inclinata, in un Paese inclinato, in un’Europa inclinata.” A slanted ship, in a slanted country, in a slanted Europe.

Written by OSIA National Office Intern, Carol Cummings. Cummings is a senior at American University, majoring in print journalism and minoring in Italian.

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