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Italy widens Costa Concordia criminal investigation

Italy widens Costa Concordia criminal investigation

On a day when eight more bodies were found aboard the wrecked Costa Concordia, Italian prosecutors have widened their criminal investigation to include four more ship’s officers and three shoreside employees of Costa Crociere, news agency ANSA reports.

Costa responded by expressing confidence in the judicial system while also vigorously defending the employees as competent and ethical.

ANSA identified the three shoreside figures as Manfred Ursprunger, Roberto Ferrarini and Paolo Parodi. The news service did not name the crew, who were identified by Corriere Fiorentino as chief mate Roberto Bosio and deck officers Silvia Coronica, Salvatore Ursino and Andrea Bongiovanni. The seven people were being formally served on Wednesday.

They join the criminal probe with Capt. Francesco Schettino, who remains under house arrest on charges including manslaughter and shipwreck, and first officer Ciro Ambrosio.

As evp fleet operations, Ursprunger oversees Costa’s technical and cruise operations departments from the company’s Genoa headquarters. Ferrarini, director of marine operations, spoke with Schettino by phone after the accident, and Parodi is a fleet superintendent. All are seasoned industry veterans.

According to Corriere Fiorentino, investigators included Bongiovanni for allegedly informing the harbor master, at Schettino’s order, only that the ship had a power failure, thus contributing to the delay of the emergency rescue, while Ursino and Coronica—like Ambrosio—allegedly failed to point out the error of the course.

In a statement, Costa expressed its belief that the seven personnel have been included in the investigation ‘simply due to the necessity for the authorities to provide such individuals with the guarantees afforded to everybody under Italian law, especially in view of the special evidentiary hearing that will commence in the coming days.’

The statement added: ‘Costa Crociere would like to express its complete trust and solidarity in these individuals, being absolutely confident in their professional competence and ethical correctness.’ The cruise operator also asserted that the individuals ‘performed their duties with the highest professionalism and dedication in the hours following this grave incident.’

Further, Costa expressed its ‘complete faith in the judicial system’ and said the company had offered its fullest collaboration with the authorities from the beginning.

‘We have no doubt that the professionalism of our company, as well as the ability of our on-board and [shoreside] people to cope with this extraordinary emergency, will be recognized,’ the statement said.

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