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Costa Concordia company offers compensation to passengers

Passengers who survived this month’s tragedy off the Italian coast have been offered €11,000 each in compensation by the company that owns the Costa Concordia.

Picture taken on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 at 22.35 GMT.
Picture taken on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 at 22.35 GMT.
Image: Giuseppe Modesti/AP/Press Association Images

THE COMPANY THAT owns the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship has offered passengers who survived this month’s tragedy €11,000 each in compensation.

Sixteen people have been confirmed dead and a further 16 remain missing, presumed dead, since the cruise vessel ran aground on 13 January. A top rescue official has also raised fears about the possibility that clandestine passengers mayhave been aboard the ship when it sank.

Following negotiations between the company – Costa Cruises – and several Italian consumer groups, the company has also agreed to refund medical and transport costs and the price of the cruise itself, the BBC reports.

However, one consumer group, Codacons, has advised customers not to accept the offer. Codacons and two US law firms are demanding $160,000 (€122,000) in compensation for each passenger.

More than 3,200 passengers from 61 countries were on board the Costa Concordia when it ran aground after hitting the island of Giglio when the captain deviated from the set route.

The deal does not cover the 1,023 crew members of the liner, CBS reports.

Some consumer groups have already signed on as injured parties in the criminal case against the Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all those aboard were evacuated. He is under house arrest.

‘What they have lost is much more than €11,000′

German attorney Hans Reinhardt, who currently represents 15 Germans who survived the accident and is in talks to represent families who lost loved ones, said he is advising his clients not to take the settlement.

Instead, he, like Codacons, is working with the US law firm to pursue the class-action suit in Miami.

“What they have lost is much more than €11,000,” he told the AP.

But Roberto Corbella, who represented Costa in the negotiations, said the deal provides passengers with quick and “generous” restitution that consumer groups estimate could amount to some €14,000 ($18,500) per passenger when it includes the other reimbursements.

“The big advantage that they have is an immediate response, no legal expenses, and they can put this whole thing behind them,” he said.

Angry passenger Herbert Greszuk, a 62-year-old German who left behind everything he had with him, including his tuxedo, camera, jewellery, and even his dentures, told the AP before the compensation deal was announced that it was an issue of accountability.

“Something like this must not be allowed to happen again. So many people died; it’s simply inexcusable,” he said.

Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Two more bodies recovered from Costa Concordia>

Read: Were there clandestine passengers on the Costa Concordia?>

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