In Italy what are expected to be a long series of indictment hearings into the sinking of the Costa Concordia against six suspects – including the captain Francesco Schettino – have got underway.
The court must decide if the suspects will stand trial. The prosecution is demanding compensation for the victims as Massimiliano Gabrieli, defence attorney for a group of victims explained.
“As far as we know the latest negotiations have reached 27,000 euros as a last offer from the company. We will ask for one million euros compensation for each passenger,” Gabrieli said.
There was a sarcastic tone to the company’s defence lawyer’s response to that demand.
“Why not ask for 10 million euros, that wouldn’t be bad. There would be a run to get on board cruise ships hoping there would be an accident, then get rescued and so solve all the problems in your life. This is really silly,” responded Marco De Luca, defence attorney for Costa Cruises company.
The court in Grosetto, which is the city nearest to the tragedy, has scheduled 40 pre-trial hearings which are expected to last into July.
Thirty-two people lost their lives when the luxury liner ran aground at high speed on the Tuscan island of Giglio in January. Over 4,000 were on board and hundreds were forced to jump into the sea and swim ashore in the dark.