(CBS News) -- A preliminary hearing began Monday in the case of the
Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that capsized off the Italian coast
last January, killing 32 people.
The proceedings are
based on evidence from the ship's black box recordings. Documents before
the court run to 270 pages, including navigational details and
conversations on the bridge of the Costa Concordia.
than 100 lawyers representing survivors and the families of the
passengers and crew who died in the Costa Concordia have shown up for
the hearing in Grosseto, Italy. Their target is not the captain, but the
American owners of the cruise line.
Peter Ronai's 10
clients are asking for $200 million. Ronai said, "What we want to make
very clear here is that this accident was not the cause of the
collision. The accident was caused by an avalanche of negligence."
A $300 million salvage operation is underway to pull the
liner off the rocks where it is lodged. The chunk of the reef the ship
hit has now been removed from the hull. It weighed in at 95 tons. Once
the hulk is re-floated, it will be towed away and almost certainly
Capt. Francesco Schettino is accused of causing
the accident by bringing his ship too close to shore to "salute" the
island, which he maintains was company policy.
finally decided to order an evacuation, the captain abandoned his ship.
And in spite of being ordered back aboard by the Coast Guard, insisted
he was "co-coordinating the rescue" from a lifeboat, and ended up ashore
before many of his passengers.
The salvage operation is now a tourist attraction, but not the kind the people of Giglio Island need.
of Giglio Sergio Ortelli said, "In this last summertime, we were 30
percent of tourists less, because in the tourists' minds remains the
Costa Concordia crisis."
The salvage operation is
scheduled to take 260 more days, but that depends on the weather, and in
winter, the seas around Giglio are often subject to violent storms. And
even so, the wreck of the Costa Concordia will likely be gone long
before the court cases are over.
Proceedings were suspended for a while Monday while the court
considered objections from Schettino's lawyers about evidence on who was
at the wheel at the time the ship struck the reef. Lawyers for the
families are complaining about having to pay for transcripts of the
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:06 AM EDT2013-05-21 06:06:33 GMT
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