Saturday, 12 October 2013

Charges of evidence tampering filed in Concordia shipwreck

Charges of evidence tampering filed in Concordia shipwreck

Official press release.

(ANSA) - Grosseto, October 7 - Italian consumer group Codacons announced on Monday it filed charges of evidence manipulation in the Costa Concordia shipwreck probe and delivered the complaint to prosecutors in the Tuscan city of Grosseto.

The trial resumed on Monday of ex-captain Francesco Schettino who was in command of the giant cruiser when it smashed into a rock formation on Giglio Island off the Tuscan coast, on January 13, 2012, causing one of Italy's largest maritime disasters.

Schettino is accused of multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty for his role in the shipwreck that killed 32, forced the evacuation of thousands onboard, and caused massive economic damage to Costa Cruises and to Giglio Island, a popular Tuscan tourist destination where the massive ship crashed.

Codacons' charges concern maintenance records that Costa Cruises delivered to experts during their appraisal of the evidence. ''Specifically, it concerns files related to compulsory tests for the emergency generator, to be performed weekly,'' Codacons announced in a note.

''Precisely those related to 10 weeks before the accident - were modified two months after the accident, on March 13, 2012,'' Codacons continued. Codacons complained that the values were changed ''all at the same time, in other words within a few dozen seconds, moreover with the insertion of identical values, such as for the temperature of the water and the temperature of the oil''.

''Malfunctioning of the emergency generator (was) a possible cause or secondary cause of the tragic epilogue of the shipwreck in terms of human lives, and is one of the main aspects that Codacons has been fighting from the beginning of the trial, and evidently it is not by chance that the alterations of the data concern precisely that front,'' Codacons claimed.

The consumer group called on the Grosseto prosecutor's office to open an urgent investigation into related facts and relative responsibilities, as well as called for the immediate seizure of documentation