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Costa Cruises pay a million Euros fine to dismiss criminal charges

Thursday, April 11th 2013 - 07:00 UTC
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The ‘Costa Concordia’ on the rocks; the accident cost 32 lives The ‘Costa Concordia’ on the rocks; the accident cost 32 lives

Costa Cruises accepted a one million Euros fine as part of a settlement with the Italian government that would dismiss possible criminal charges for last year's ‘Costa Concordia’ shipwreck, which killed 32 people.

Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp., has been under investigation for its role as owner of the 4,000-passenger ship that ran aground and partially sunk off the coast of Italy in January last year.

The settlement means Costa will not face a criminal trial, but does not prevent private lawsuits brought on by passengers or crew. The company's lawyer Marco De Luca said the settlement was a “balance solution” after the ruling on Wednesday.

Italian prosecutors have brought on charges against six people including the captain Francesco Schettino, the helmsman, two other officers who were on the bridge during the grounding and the head of Costa's crisis unit. The fine does not cover charges made against them.

Schettino allegedly steered the ship too close to the island to perform a “ship salute” for the benefit of the passengers and the islanders. The captain also faced criticism for allegedly abandoning the ship before all the passengers were safely ashore.

If convicted, Schettino could face up to 20 years in jail.

The ‘Costa Concordia’ is in the process of being lifted so that it could be towed to an Italian shipyard to be salvaged. Pompano Beach-based Titan Salvage and its Italian partner Micoperi won the contract to upright the ship. The team is on stage 2 of the five-part process of up-righting the 114.500-ton vessel.

Categories: Tourism, International.

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