Costa Cruises has hit back angrily against “disgraceful and unfounded assertions” in media reports over alleged compensation offers made to victims of the Costa Concordia disaster.
Stating that it is “incredulous” at reports made about the company without any form of verification, Costa refuted suggestions that discounts and promotional offers have been made to survivors of the tragedy.
The chairman and chief executive of Costa’s parent company Micky Arison went so far as to use his Twitter feed to highlight the statement, criticising “inaccurate media reports”.
Costa said: “With reference to news reports on discounts and promotional offers, Costa Cruises feels bound to point out that the company has never offered any discount on future cruises to guests who were on board the Costa Concordia for the cruise of January 13th and involved in the tragic accident.
“The information published by a newspaper and reported in various news outlets is totally unfounded, as is confirmed by the English passenger who was quoted by the newspaper.”
The Italian line reiterated that “after the tragic accident the company’s priority has always been to provide the maximum possible assistance and solace to the people involved.
“From the outset the company has been fully aware of and saddened by the suffering and hardship endured by guests and crew members and has acted with this firmly borne in mind.”
Working with rescue teams, the company worked to provide evacuated passengers and crew members with “all the necessary assistance to ensure they were able to return home”.
“Subsequently it contacted guests by telephone, after they had returned home, to check on their physical and emotional wellbeing, and to confirm that they will receive a refund for the cruise and all material expenses relating to it.”
Costa added: “As already announced, the company welcomes discussion with its guests and all consumer protection associations to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of tourism sector trade associations with which it has been in contact for days.
“Driven by its sense of ethics and the values of fairness and responsibility which guide it, the company has also given all customers with bookings for future Costa cruises the possibility, if feeling afraid, to cancel their cruise booking by giving notice no later than February 7.
“All travel agents who work with the company were informed of this days ago.
“Costa Cruises would also like to clarify that starting on the day after the accident, all advertising initiatives planned were cancelled out of respect for those affected by this tragedy.”
But it admitted: “The company was unable to stop only one postal promotion which had already been sent to some customers at the end of December.”
The Costa statement came as another body was recovered from the wreckage, bringing the death toll up to 16 after the ship hit rocks off the Italian coast with 4,200 people on board. At least 16 more people are reportedly missing.
A four week operation to pump thousands of gallons of fuel out of the stricken ship is due to start at the weekend.
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