Starting April 15, 2013, the Master and a person, RF, having the same job I had for another cruise company in the 1980/90's (+ some others), were supposed to be tried for manslaughter, causing capisze, abandoning ship, etc, etc, at Grosseto, Italy. The public had no access to the court room but, the whole thing was postponed on April 17 ... no reasons were given, except that the trial would restart a month later in May. The case is indeed strange. How can a person like RF working ashore, to assist with technical advice in emergencies be accused of manslaughter, causing capisze, abandoning ship, etc, etc?
One thing is clear. The proximate cause why the ship finally capsized outside Porto Giglio on Saturday 14 Jan 2013, the day after the first contact, has still not been clarified. The technical accident investigation is still going on and is seriously delayed. Maybe the technical investigators have found (or will find) that the ship was not seaworthy and incorrectly designed, built and approved with 25 watertight doors in the hull 2006? Watertight doors are not permitted in the hull except for very good reasons. If such a door is left open when the ship is damaged it may cause capsize!
So why were so many (illegal) watertight doors fitted in the hull? For the convenience of the crew? Why not? So they could move around, in lieu of running up/down in stairwells.
We are told that there were about 800 poor, not very qualified, non-EU citizens working on the ship with low salaires and no social security or pension benefits. Which raises another question! Is it permitted to employ non-EU citizens in this trade? My answer is NO! So what kind of shipping biz was this?
It seems the poor Master was in command of an unseaworthy ship crewed by 800+ illegal immigrant workers or similar. That was not easy. On top of that, there are rumours that the ship was used to transport illegal drugs from Spain (Barcelona - the drugs come from S.America via Africa)) to Italy (Civitavecchio) (to avoid land transport via France where controls are strict) to help the underpaid crew to survive. What a mess. The poor Master must just smile and carry on this show for years.
Regarding the accidental contact on Friday 13 Jan, 2012, it seems that the Voyage Data Recorder actually confirms that the ship, a couple of minutes before the contact, turned starboard (right) to pass far away from the coast (as ordered by the Master) BUT that the ship then changed course to port heading straight for the island. Had the ship then continued on that course for 30 seconds it would have run straight upon land!!! But in the last moment they turned starboard again and ... what happened happened.
Maybe we will know more mid-May when the trial re-starts at Grosseto?