Carnival faces a new lawsuit as a US lawyer alleges that design flaws hampered evacuation from Costa Concordia.
Mississippi-based John Eaves told a press conference that Carnival, its architects and designers share some of the blame for the 30 possible deaths in the accident.
“What makes me angriest is that the company has the audacity to refloat Costa Concordia, which we know was defectively designed,” he said.
“We filed a claim against Carnival and against the architects and designers for the propensity of Costa Concordia to roll and list, and because of the maze effect within the vessel.”
Mr Eaves is seeking punitive damages from Carnival. “The industry has got so big that we are literally sending out floating coffins and that is why we must take action,” he said.
Mr Eaves also called the recently started efforts of salvage teams to refloat the wreck disrespectful. “I think it’s a dishonour to the families that lost loved ones and to the people that went through this tragedy to try to refloat a vessel, put it back out into commerce, and put other families and other passengers in jeopardy.”
Carnival already faces countless lawsuits from passengers and crew.
It is understood that, if successful, the cases could cost Carnival dearly, especially if it is possible to prove any inherent design flaws in the vessel.
Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival directly responsible for Costa Concordia, has offered a compensation package that offers uninjured passengers a lump sum of $14,460.
Crew have also filed suits. Most recently a $200m lawsuit was filed in New York Federal Court, on May 3, on behalf of four Hungarian musicians and dancers on board Costa Concordia. The lawsuit claims the performers are unable to work after suffering physical and emotional injuries.
Costa Cruises has blamed the incident, which occurred on January 13, on the “significant human error” of the ship’s master, Francesco Schettino. Capt Schettino faces manslaughter charges in Italy, where a detailed investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.
On safety, Costa issued a statement immediately after the incident saying it is “committed to ensuring that no such incident ever occurs again. Our number one priority is always the safety and security of our guests and crew and we comply with all safety regulations”.
All Costa ships are certified by Rina, which said Costa Concordia was “not a matter the Rina would wish to comment on or be associated with in any way at this stage”.