Death Toll up to 17 in Costa Concordia Disaster

As another body was found onboard the Costa Concordia, the death toll has increased to 17 for this needless tragedy. This needless tragedy occurred due to gross negligence on the part of the captain. Although the cruise ship company, Costa Cruise Lines along with Carnival Cruise Lines, continues to assert that this was an isolated event involving a captain’s decision to dangerously navigate the cruise ship too close to shore, the captain has fought back and stated that the cruise ship company was well aware of the practice of maneuvering the vessel close to land to show off its beauty and impress the passengers and islanders.

Why the captain navigated the vessel recklessly close to the shore, striking rocks that are well chartered, remains an unanswered question. For those who were affected by this disaster, especially the families who lost loved ones, the cruise ship company’s statements that it was the captain’s fault, do not matter much. The fact remains lives were needlessly lost. We are now up to 17, and the search for the remaining 16 victims from this needless tragedy has been called off. The Italian Civil Protection Agency stated the search is too much of a danger to the workers involved in the search and rescue efforts.

In the meantime, newspapers are reporting how Carnival Cruise Lines profits have dropped significantly, and their bookings of future cruises have significantly dropped. I personally find it offensive to be focusing on how this disaster has affected Carnival Cruise Lines’ profits, when the entire focus should be on the victims of this needless tragedy.

The policies and procedures of the cruise ship companies worldwide will have to be examined now. We are already learning that companies are making sure that emergency practice drills are being performed before a cruise ship leaves port. In the case of the Costa Concordia disaster, we know that there were many passengers who never participated in a practice emergency drill before the tragedy occurred. This is a significant flaw in the procedures of the Costa Cruise Lines, as well as Carnival Cruise Lines. As the parent company, Carnival Cruise Lines should have made sure that all of their subsidiary companies operating cruise ships with millions of passengers onboard yearly, complied with all necessary safety procedures and policies. The performance of practice life saving drills after the cruise ship is already sailed simply makes no sense, as demonstrated by this needless tragedy.

Our firm continues to answer questions from many passengers and crewmembers who have contacted us following the Costa Concordia disaster to learn about their rights. We have answered many questions about the propriety of quickly filing a class action lawsuit in Miami, Florida, asking for millions of dollars. We have been asked whether this is offensive to some because this lawsuit has been filed by passengers who did not suffer significant physical injuries, or deaths. We have been asked whether this is the proper course of action to take at this time. We have advised that there is no need to rush to the courthouse within weeks of this disaster. In addition, this lawsuit will likely end up in Italy based on the passenger cruise ship ticket, or what’s called a forum non-conveniens analysis.

In addition, it is very difficult to hold the parent company liable for the acts of its subsidiary unless you can “pierce the corporate veil” by proving that the parent company and the subsidiary did not maintain separate operations, but instead are so intertwined that basically they act as one corporation.

Our firm continues to act as safety advocates for those injured or harmed at sea. We continue to assist any passengers or crewmembers who request our assistance as a result of this horrible tragedy aboard the Costa Concordia, owned and operated by Costa Cruise Lines, with Carnival Corporation being the parent corporation.