Italy Cruise Ship Disaster – Costa Cruises

Italy Cruise Ship Disaster – Costa Cruises

Over the weekend, a cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, negligently ran aground off the coast of Italy, resulting in deaths, injuries and mass mayhem. The owners of the cruise ship have chalked the mistake up to a human error on the part of the skipper, saying that the man in charge of the ship made an “unapproved, unauthorized maneuver” in straying from the ship’s predetermined course.

The company that owns the Costa Concordia, Carnival Corp., based in Miami, indicated that the skipper, a man named Francesco Schettino, probably brought the ship too close to the rocky coast, thereby endangering the 4,200 passengers aboard the ship (not to mention the 2,300 tons of fuel on board). Soon after the crash, which resulted in a capsized ship that has been photographed in dramatic fashion around the world, Shettino “abandoned ship” and was subsequently arrested by Italian police. In doing so, he abandoned his duty to the passengers on the ship, not even remaining on board to assist in the rescue of the passengers, many of whom, including a few Americans, are still unaccounted for.

Though Schettino’s actions were reprehensible to say the least, the damage incurred on board the ship, including multiple deaths (and more to be reported), is both his and the owner’s of the ships’ responsibility. As an issue of legal liability, the passengers and their families who suffered fatalities and other injuries (whether they be physical, emotional or mental) have a claim against the cruise line’s owner, Carnival Corp., located in Miami and chaired by Micky Arison, owner of the Miami Heat basketball franchise. Mr. Arison’s public statement thus far has been that at the present time, Carnival’s “priority is the safety of [their] passengers and crew.” While there’s no doubt that at the current time the priority is the safe handling of the lives involved, it’s clear that the damage will send shockwaves across the Atlantic.

Carnival Corp., the world’s biggest cruise line company, estimates that the damage that has already become known could cost at least $95 million, with additional costs not determined at the present time. Surely that number will go up as a result of the injuries caused on board the Costa Concordia. The medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (and, I’m sure, refunds) will be forwarded on to Carnival Corp. by the injured parties and their attorneys. And although the crash took place in Europe, the lawsuits may, most likely (barring any information undisclosed at this point), be filed in Miami, Florida, where Carnival is based.

As of Monday, Carnival Corp.’s stock value has plummeted nearly 20% as a direct response to the tragic events that took place over the weekend. There’s no question that the true implications of the disaster have yet to be understood, but we can be sure that as they come to surface, there will be a great deal of legal footwork involved in tying responsibility to the liable party. As the events unfold, we will keep you up-to-date with news updates and legal commentary.

If you have any questions or comments relating to this or any other legal matter, please don’t hesitate to call the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at

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