Costa Cruises has been forced to issue a statement defending its actions over the Costa Concordia disaster after details of a pre-trial report were leaked to the Italian media.
The report allegedly blames the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino for making a risky manoeuvre which ended when the ship ran aground off the island of Giglio in January resulting in 32 deaths.
It claims that one of three executives from the Italian cruise line facing trial next month did not fully understand what was happening.
The report also appears to blame the company for insufficient training in emergency procedures for its staff, who were unaware of what they had to do in such a situation, according to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.
It adds that not all the crew were not able to understand the emergency instructions given in Italian, according to reports.
The claims are denied by Costa.
When the captain told Costa’s fleet crisis co-ordinator that three sections of the vessel were flooded, he should have immediately told the captain to declare a general emergency and abandon ship, the report allegedly says.
“Instead, six minutes passed before Schettino announced a general emergency and around 27 minutes before he called for the ship to be abandoned.”
In response, Costa said: “With regard to the notification of the emergency, the law provides that in the event of an accident, the obligation to inform the authorities is up to the captain, while it is the duty of the company to put itself at disposal of the authority.
“The records confirm that the captain had assured the representative of the crisis department of Costa Crociere on the fact that the authorities had been informed, as there is no doubt that the company has put itself at disposal of the authority.”
The Costa statement added: “It is also clear from the records that the communication made by the master to the crisis department were on the whole not timely, partial and confused, not allowing it to scale a clear perception of the seriousness of what was actually happening.
“The claim that the staff was unprepared for emergencies, is without foundation.
“The alleged defects in the certifications of some of the crew, in no way shared by the technical and administrative point of view, concern only a few components not key in emergency management.”
A court hearing is due to start on October 15.
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