Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who have lost their lives in the horrific accident this weekend on the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy. We hold on to the hope that those still missing are found alive. We also applaud the efforts of the rescue workers who risked their lives to save passengers.
As the details of this tragedy continue to unfold, liability appears to lie with the actions of the captain who strayed off course and caused the ship to hit rocks near Italy’s coast. He remains in jail in Italy as authorities continue to investigate his role in the disaster. In an article on CNN.com, Costa Cruises said in a statement, “Preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s master, Capt. Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences.” Transcripts of the conversation between the captain and an Italian port official have shown that the captain had abandoned ship and was ordered to return a number of times.
What may be frustrating for any American travelers involved in the accident who might try to pursue a case against Costa is the fact that they will need to file in Italy, because that is the port of call for the cruise line. The sheer number of victims may also help any cases that are filed.
An article in the Miami Herald reported that Carnival Corp., owners of Costa Crociere, does carry third-party personal injury liability insurance, with a deductible of about $10 million for this incident. However, insurance loss could be between $500 million to $1 billion, depending on liability claims.
We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.