Costa Concordia disaster pre-trial hearings due in Italy

By Accidents

The disaster of already sinister for many people Costa Concordia cruise vessel returns to court in Italy on Monday with the beginning of a long series of charge hearings against 6 suspects that include the captain of Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino.
Among the accused by prosecutors 5 crew members is the luxury cruise liner's Indonesian helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin, who is suspected of contributing to the tragedy by misunderstanding a command moments before the accident.
Unfortunately 32 people lost their lives in the collision that occurred on January 13th, 2012, including a 5-year-old girl.
The current location of the helmsman Rusli Bin isn't known but he has been assigned a lawyer and the accusations against him are going to be heard in absentia.
Captain Francesco Schettino is expected to attend.
The 6th accused is Roberto Ferrarini, who is the head of vessel owner Costa Crociere's crisis unit that is suspected of delaying rescue operations that prosecutors claim was the main cause of loss of so many human lives.
The cruise ship Costa Concordia collided at high speed into the Tuscan island of Giglio on the night of 13th of January, 2012 with 4,229 people from 70 countries onboard as Francesco Schettino attempted a risky "salute" manoeuvre.
The huge cruise vessel Costa Concordia veered sharply and then keeled over in shallow water.
Most of the guests onboard the giant cruise ship and crew members were evacuated with the vessel's lifeboats but hundreds were just forced to jump into the sea and swim ashore in the dark night.
The court has planned forty pre-trial hearings lasting into July before it rules on whether a trial must go ahead and when it is going to take place.
The hearings are to start at 07:30 UTC on Monday.
Survived people from the accident are allowed to attend the hearings, where prosecutors and defence lawyers are going to tackle some of the key problems in the expected trial.
The case is being heard in Grosseto, the town that is nearest to the site of the tragedy where the cruise vessel still lies on its side as an unprecedented salvage operation prepares to right it, refloat it and tow it away.
Many of the survivors in civil courts are suing Costa Crociere, which is the biggest cruise operator in Europe and a subsidiary of the U.S.-based giant cruise company Carnival Corporation.
Most of the survived passengers that didn't suffer any injuries or lose loved ones have accepted compensation from Costa of nearly 11,000 EUR ($14,000) each.