In the aftermath of a horrific cruise ship accident off the west coast of Italy, explosives teams this week blasted holes into the side of the doomed ship, the Costa Concordia, in an attempt to locate survivors. There are still nearly 30 people missing, including two Americans, and there are six known fatalities.

            The ship, which is owned by Italian company Costa Crociere SpA, hit rocks on Friday night when the captain allegedly steered the massive ocean liner too close to the rocky shore along the beautiful Tuscan island of Giglio. The captain has been accused by Italian authorities of abandoning the ship before the evacuation was complete.  In fact, several accounts have been recorded that the captains actions may have delayed emergency procedures by hours.

            Members of the crew began evacuation procedures after the ship struck rocks that tore a hole in the hull. They did so because the captain delayed calling an emergency. A series of recorded telephone calls between the captain and port authorities reveal the captain seemed confused about what to do, and was denying to officials that there was a serious problem–even as passengers began to call police to notify them of the accident.  Some reports suggest that the captain was in his room eating dinner and refused to admit there was even a problem.

            A later call between the captain and an officer in Livorno indicates the captain was not aboard the ship as rescue efforts were underway. The officer ordered the captain back onto the ship to take charge of the emergency, but apparently he did not go. The cruise ship’s owners say that the captain failed to follow standard emergency procedures and also didn’t follow the agreed-upon route of the cruise.

            Unfortunately it would appear that several families have suffered serious personal losses from the negligence of the ship’s crew. Due to jurisdictional and unique legal complications, wrongful death claims from incidents at sea are often best handled by personal injury attorneys with experience in cruise ship incidents.   At Guenard and Bozarth we represent people that placed their trust in professionals and expected them to do the right thing.  For questions about accidents like this or one you may have been the victim of you can call our office at 888-809-1075 or visit us on the web at