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Costa fined €1m for Concordia after judge accepts plea bargain

Costa fined €1m for Concordia after judge accepts plea bargain
An Italian judge has fined Costa Crociere €1m ($1.3m) in administrative sanctions related to the Costa Concordia incident.

Costa confirmed to Seatrade Insider that Judge Valeria Montesarchio of the Grosseto tribunal Wednesday morning accepted the company’s plea bargain request in response to corporate sanctions under Italian law 231 addressing crimes committed by employees and executives.

A Costa spokesperson told Seatrade Insider the company had no further comment.

Codacons, an Italian consumer group that is pursuing legal action against Costa and parent company Carnival Corp. & plc in the United States, called the settlement ‘a slap’ to the survivors and the relatives of the victims. The group also maintained the criminal plea bargain will not impact its efforts to sue for civil damages in the US.

In a story from Grosseto, Reuters reports the fine was close to the maximum allowed by law. The wire service said the prosecution expressed satisfaction with the ruling and does not intend to appeal, adding the settlement means Costa is off the hook for a criminal trial but not legal actions brought by passengers and crew.

Grosseto prosecutors are seeking indictments for the ship’s master, Capt. Francesco Schettino, and five others on manslaughter and other charges; a preliminary hearing behind closed doors is scheduled for Monday.

The five are first officer Ciro Ambrosio, second officer Silvia Coronica, helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin, hotel director Manrico Giampedroni and, from the shoreside office, Roberto Ferrarini, director of marine operations and Costa’s designated person ashore.

The company’s role in the criminal case will be only as a party seeking damages for the loss of the ship, a Costa spokesperson said.

More than 200 people were questioned in connection with Costa Concordia’s capsize off Giglio on January 13, 2012. Thirty-two people died.