Company may be fined for Concordia

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Rome - The cruise line company Costa Crociere risks a huge fine in relation to the deadly 2012 shipwreck of its Costa Concordia luxury cruise ship, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Prosecutors in Grosseto, Tuscany, notified the company that they had concluded investigations into allegations that Captain Francesco Schettino and fleet crisis co-ordinator Roberto Ferrarini hesitated about emergency operations in a bid to safeguard the company's reputation, the La Repubblica newspaper said.

“Costa Crociere is confident it will be able to prove its full compliance with relevant laws and renews its complete faith in the magistrature,” the company said in a statement, confirming it received a legal notice.

The investigation focuses on whether a law was broken that holds companies responsible for crimes committed to their advantage by their employees.

Costa Crociere, a subsidiary of US-based Carnival, will now have 20 days to present a written defence. Based on that, prosecutors will decide whether to press charges or drop the case.

If found guilty, the company would be liable to pay a fine worth hundreds of thousands of euros, reports said.

Schettino and Ferrarini, along with several other Costa employees, also face criminal charges in relation to the disaster. Prosecutors are expected to press charges later this month, or in early February, meaning that a trial could start after the summer.

The Concordia hit rocks and ran aground off the island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, after Schettino steered it dangerously close to the coast.

Of the 4 229 passengers aboard, 32 died. Two bodies are still missing. - Sapa-dpa

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