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Costa rebuts claims of underage workers on Concordia

Costa Crociere continues to battle speculation about the possible presence of unregistered, underage workers on Costa Concordia and suggested it may take legal action to defend itself against claims that are being made on some Italian websites.

One, Corriere Fiorentino, has a story that states a man called authorities after the disaster to report boys aged 13 to 16 working as porters, and living in dormitories in the hold.

‘The accusations raised against the company that it exploits unregistered or underage labor are vile and baseless,’ Costa said in a statement issued Friday.

The company also claimed to be the first shipping group to voluntarily undergo social accountability certification, SA8000, which it has maintained since 2004. This covers child labor, among other areas, not just for the company but its suppliers, who must certify they don’t use underage workers.

Costa said it is monitored by the US certification firm Social Accountability Accreditation Services, which developed and oversees SA8000 certification, and is audited twice a year by classification society RINA.

All crew who work on board Costa ships have a regular contract of employment, the company added, with pay conditions regulated by first and second level employment contracts signed with flag state trade unions affiliated with the International Transport Federation.

With regard to working conditions on board, Costa said all its crew are housed in single cabins with private bathroom, twin cabins with private bathroom or twin cabins with bathroom shared with another twin cabin. All cabins have beds and furniture, television and DVD player.

Costa also reiterated its denial of earlier allegations there were unregistered passengers on board Costa Concordia, and outlined its access control procedures for passengers and crew.

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