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Concordia survivors among witnesses for US House hearing

A Massachusetts couple who survived the Costa Concordia capsize are among the witnesses scheduled to testify in the US House of Representatives Subcommittee hearing on cruise ship safety.

Sameer and Divya Sharma, who were passengers on the ship that sank Jan. 13 off Giglio, Italy, are on a witness list that includes officials from Cruise Lines International Association and several individual lines, a US maritime labor union and a US Coast Guard official.

In media reports, Divya Sharma has described the evacuation as ‘mass hysteria.’

The Feb. 29 hearing before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will be followed on March 1 by a Senate Commerce Committee investigation that also springs from the Costa Concordia accident.

Common to both panels are CLIA president and ceo Christine Duffy and Vice Adm. Brian Salerno, deputy commandant for operations, US Coast Guard.

The newly released House witness list includes CLIA’s Michael Crye, evp technical and regulatory; George Wright, svp marine operations, Princess Cruises; Vicky Rey, vp guest service and support, Carnival Carnival Cruise Lines; and Capt. Evans Hoyt, master of Norwegian Spirit and the US-flag Pride of America, Norwegian Cruise Line.

Scheduled to testify for the Seafarers International Union is Brian Schoeneman, legislative director.

The Subcommittee will review cruise ship safety and ‘lessons learned’ from the Costa Concordia accident, with focus on the safety of cruise vessels sailing from US ports.

(See separate story for the Senate Commerce Committee witness list.)

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