The U.S. Coast Guard, joined by the National Transportation Safety Board, will take part in the Italian investigation of the January 13 grounding of COSTA CONCORDIA. Joining non-U.S. investigations abroad is not unusual for the USCG; they also have a role with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) addressing global ecological, security, and safety issues.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenbaum ruled that lawsuits brought by Italian business owners in regard to damages caused by the wreck of COSTA CONCORDIA will not be heard in the U.S., where the business owners tried to bring action. Likely, any of their cases will be heard in Italy. (COSTA CONCORDIA is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, which is based in Florida. Costa Crociere, based in Genoa, Italy, is a subsidiary of Carnival.)
On March 10, cruise ship STAR PRINCESS passed within range of three stranded Panamanian fishermen, one of whom was seen to be waving a red cloth up and down by passengers aboard STAR PRINCESS. Yet, there was no rescue that day, and over two weeks later, on March 24, only one of the three fishermen were found alive near the Galapagos Islands by another fishing vessel.
After a fire in the electric generator room took out electric power to Costa Crociere's COSTA ALLEGRA on February 27, passengers spent three days on board without many basic comforts and amenities while the cruise ship was towed to Port Victoria on Mahe Island in the Seychelles. Once in port, the passengers were given a choice to either stay at various Seychelles resorts for Costa Crociere-paid one- or two-week vacation, or for Costa Crociere to fly directly them back to their homes. Most passengers chose to continue their vacations in the Seychelles.
Just before dawn on Monday, February 27, a fire broke out in the COSTA ALLEGRA electric generator room. The fire was extinguished before it could spread or cause any injury, but the ship has been left without electrical power for such necessities as ship propulsion, lights, or air conditioning. Back-up generators will keep communication gear and control room lights running as long as possible.
Captain Francesco Schettino was captain of the Italian passenger ship COSTA CONCORDIA, which sank after striking a rock, resulting in the loss of passenger lives. The captain is being accused of gross negligence, intentional misconduct, and deviating from course without authorization. How much blame lies with the captain and how much with Costa for allegedly authorizing the deadly "fly by" off the Giglio shore remains for a court to decide, most likely an Italian court. Captain Schettino is also being accused of manslaughter and of abandoning ship. In Italy, it is illegal for a captain to abandon ship, and such a captain faces imprisonment of up to eight years if passengers or crew have died.