When something terrible happens, people need to assign blame. When a disaster has the potential to severely affect an entire industry, it is in that industry’s interest to find a scapegoat. In the wake of the COSTA CONCORDIA disaster off the Italian coast, the media and Carnival Cruise Line, owners of the Costa line, have vilified the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino. Carnival accuses him of steering it off course into shallow water where rocks ripped a huge gash in its hull. Media sources say Schettino then abandoned the ship with hundreds still on board as it filled with water and turned onto its side.
Maritime law dictates that passengers injured in a cruise ship accident may seek damages from the cruise line. Carnival is attempting to shirk all liability in the disaster by blaming the captain alone.
According to Boston maritime attorney Carolyn Latti, reports suggest that Schettino has deviated from the COSTA CONCORDIA’s assigned route on previous journeys “as part of some tradition to wave to islanders.” Latti went on to say that, “if they did this in the past and the company never stopped it, the blame shifts to the company. There should be a record of every trip and course the ship ever took that would show that.”
Latti says Schettino may have made grave errors in judgment, but implicating him fully and immediately screams of a Public Relations maneuver by an industry terrified of the disaster’s potential consequences. If the Carnival Cruise Line can present this incident as an isolated act by one captain, then it can still paint cruising as completely safe. Further, by invoking certain maritime defenses the company can avoid and/or limit liability in the disaster, which would prevent passengers and crew from receiving the help they deserve.
Latti, a Boston maritime trial lawyer and partner at Latti & Anderson LLP, has represented victims of cruise ship accidents all over the world and can help COSTA CONCORDIA survivors and the family of the deceased determine their rights. The time limits for suing Carnival and Costa are brief – if you are a survivor of the COSTA CONCORDIA disaster or if you lost a family member in the sinking, you must act quickly to preserve your cause of action. Contact Latti & Anderson LLP right away to consult with our attorneys.