Compensation Plan Offered for Capsized Ship’s Passengers

Posted January 27th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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The owner of a cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy earlier this month has offered about $14,500 in compensation to each of the uninjured passengers who were aboard the vessel.

Costa Cruises said it will also refund those passengers the costs of their cruise and trip home.

The deal was announced Friday after negotiations between Costa representatives and Italian consumer groups. A lawyer who represented Costa said the agreement provides passengers a quick way to settle with the cruise company.

Passengers are free to pursue legal action if they do not accept the deal, which does not apply to the injured passengers.

The parent company of Costa Cruises, U.S.-based Carnival, is already facing legal action for compensation.

Meanwhile, Italian navy personnel on Friday carried out controlled explosions to the hull of the Costa Concordia, as work continues to try to salvage tons of fuel from the vessel to avert an environmental catastrophe.

The ship tipped over after gashing it hull on reefs and lies half-submerged near Giglio island off Italy’s northwestern coast. Sixteen deaths have been confirmed, and 17 passengers are still missing.

The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest, accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship before all of the vessel’s 4,200 passengers and crew could reach safety.

Italian media quoted Schettino as saying he sailed his ship too close to the wreck site near Giglio island in a “salute” that he said was “arranged and wanted” by Costa Cruises executives for publicity reasons. Ship owners have not commented on the allegations.

Salvage crews are preparing to empty the vessel’s fuel tanks on Saturday.