Feed on

It’s been over six months since the drama and tragedy of last January, and in recent months everything has gone rather quiet. This is a quick post to report what seems to be happening.

  • there’ve been  a few stories alleging that various bits of equipment weren’t working. The most significant of these related to the ‘Black Box’ recorders. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case – see below;
  • there was what seems to have been a bizarre interview with the captain on Italian TV: he said it wasn’t his fault because he wasn’t ‘in command’ at the time the collision happened; he apologised nonetheless; he said that he must have been guided by the hand of God when he took over and managed to beach the ship in shallow-ish water; and he also now says that the black box recorder vindicates his action;
  • the captain has been released from house arrest, although he is not allowed to leave his hometown;
  • more substantively, the next pre-trial hearing, to determine the charges to be brought (if any) against the captain and others, has been delayed until 15 October. This is to allow more time for technicians to examine the data from the black box recorder.

One thing I am struggling to understand is the way that the Italian system conflates the investigation and the legal process. In the UK there would be an investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (which is a part of the Department for Transport), and a report would be published. Then the legal process would begin and charges, if any, would be based on the report’s findings. In Italy, however, it seems that the court is both prosecuting and investigating, and I don’t really understand how that works. If anyone knows, I’d be pleased to learn… In this situation I’m not sure how we’ll ever find out what actually happened in the Costa Concordia case, whereas in the the UK the MAIB report always includes a narrative account of events, and a statement of the causes of the events. But maybe things will become clearer once he court proceedings start in earnest.

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