Italy: Payout offered to rescued cruise ship passengers

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Italy: Payout offered to rescued cruise ship passengers

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Some 3,000 passengers who sailed on the stricken Costa Concordia have been offered compensation.

Those who suffered no physical harm can claim 11,000 euros for lost baggage and psychological trauma.

It follows talks between consumer and industry groups.

One consumer group representative, Federica Lugli, said she was satisfied as the agreement was struck with the Concordia’s operator in a very short time. She added that the company had promised a full refund to all passengers.

But another consumer watchdog refused to sign the agreement and plans to file a class action against the US owners. Its head, Carlo Rienzi, called the offer absurd.

“Eleven thousand euros to risk death by drowning, with your child in the arms, or with your father in a wheelchair. It is really nothing. Let’s see what the American judges will say. We plan to ask for 125,000 euros per passenger.”

Passengers and crew are free to pursue their own legal action if they are not satisfied with the 11,000 euro deal.

The Costa Concordia ran aground off Italy’s Tuscan coast on January 13 near the island of Giglio. Sixteen people died in the accident and eight people are still missing, presumed dead.

The coastguard says the chances of finding new bodies are dwindling. Officials have gone over the 32 square kilometres of seabed around the wreck without making any more discoveries.