Society 17:12 03/07/2012

Costa Concordia black box did not work

An Italian cruise ship which sank in January, causing the deaths of 32 people, was not equipped with a functioning black box, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Milan daily Corriere della Sera cited a report on Tuesday presented in April to magistrates in the Tuscan city of Grosseto, who are leading an investigation into the sinking of the Costa Concordia.

On January 13, the cruise ship ran aground near the island of Giglio, off Italy's western coast killing 32 people.

According to the report, Pierfrancesco Ferro, the director of technical services for the company that owns the vessel, Costa Crociere, on January 11 had requested repair work to be done to the Costa Concordia's black box.

The repair work was to have been carried out on January 14, when the ship had been scheduled to reach the north-western Italian port of Savona.

In an email message sent to the company responsible for the repair work, Ferro complained that the black box - a device used to record data including navigation commands - was malfunctioning for the "umpteenth" time.

But Costa Crociere disputes this account.

Costa Crociere in its reply to Corriere della Sera, said that while the black box had registered an "error code" this "absolutely does not mean that the device was not working."

Proof of this, Costa Crociere said, was the fact that magistrates investigating the accident had assigned experts to collect data contained in the black box.

Costa Crociere also denied that an electrical fault on board the Costa Concordia had prevented the closure of watertight doors that could have prevented some compartments of the ship from flooding.

Costa Crociere also reiterated that it held Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino responsible for the accident, for choosing an unauthorised route that had brought the vessel dangerously close to Giglio.

Schettino is under house arrest and faces charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all the approximately 4200 passengers and crew had been evacuated.




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