Giglio Marks Anniversary of Costa Concordia Tragedy

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 04:50

The island of Giglio in Tuscany held a memorial service on 13 January to mark the first-year anniversary of the cruise-ship disaster that killed 32 people.

In 2012, the Costa Concordia hit a rock that caused it to capsize off the island. The ship’s parent company, Costa Cruises, invited families of the dead to attend the memorial service. Part of the large rock that caused a gash in the ship’s hull was returned to the sea near where the cruise liner floundered. Affixed to the boulder was a memorial plaque, and it was lowered into the sea to the sound of foghorns and sirens.

The Archbishop of Sovana, Pitigliano and Orbetello, Guglielmo Borghetti, held a remembrance mass at the Church of Saints Lorenzo and Mamiliano at 11am. The focus of the service was on the survivors and families of those who died in the disaster. Awards were given to emergency workers who rushed to save victims from the sea.

At 3.30pm, island officials fixed a bronze memorial plaque to the Molo Rosso wharf in memory of the victims of the tragedy and the solidarity of the islanders. At 6pm, a classical music concert was held in the Church of San Pietro at Giglio Castle. A minute’s silence was held at 9.45pm in memory of the victims to coincide with the moment when it sank.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano sent a message of thanks to the islanders, in which he lauded them for their “high sense of civic duty and humanity.”

The ship remains half-submerged near the island. Some 420 salvage workers – including divers, engineers and geologists – are working to stabilise the vessel before it can be refloated and towed away, but its removal has been delayed because of technical difficulties and adverse weather conditions. In December 2012, Italy’s Environment Minister warned that further delays to its removal could result in more environmental damage. The head of the Italian Civil Protection service said that the ship would most likely be removed in September.

Legal proceedings regarding the disaster are ongoing. Costa Cruises, offered €11,000 each as damages to passengers and crew who survived, but many of them have joined a class action to sue the company for more.

The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is under investigation. He is facing indictment on criminal charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. Schettino denies the charges and he is suing his former employer for wrongful dismissal. In an interview for RAI TV aired to coincide with the anniversary, he expressed his condolences but blamed the ship’s Indonesian helmsman, Jacob Rusli Bin, for turning the ship, saying that the crewman had misunderstood his steering orders given in English. Seven other crew members and executives could also face charges.


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