The pre-trial hearing into the Costa Concordia accident opened this morning. With its flair for drama in an already dramatic affair the Italians instead of using the Grosseto Courthouse they used the local Moderno Theatre which is located outside the City walls. This gave more room for those attending including the more than 70 lawyers those 'caped crusaders' of the Italian Legal System, for all parties involved, including Captain Schettino, whose lawyers slipped in the back door to avoid the Media.
Italian Law allows injured parties to attach civil lawsuits to criminal lawsuits as a result they and or their lawyers are allowed to attend hearings closed to the general public and media. As usual in Italy, which has the largest law enforcement force in Europe some 324,339 personnel, there was a baffling array of uniformed officers complete with dazzling cap badges and insignia.
Thirty-two (32) people either died or are missing and presumed dead after the impact and grounding of the MS Costa Concordia on the Island of Giglio. One survivor said he was interested to see what would be learned from the so called "black box" data recorder when it is opened and analyzed. Indeed he is one of many who would like to know including NAUTICAL LOG as there are several conflicting reports about the conduct of the Command and Officers on the Bridge during the emergency.
All involved agree on one thing already however that is that the search for some answers, let alone the truth of the incident and any justice, will be a long drawn out affair taking years.
Late in the day the Judge Valeria Montesarchio adjourned the Hearing after appointing various people to perform tasks on behalf of the Court. The analysis of the data recorder ("black box") alone will take time but must in compliance with the Judges Orders be completed by July 21, 2012. So the opening Scene of Act 1 is completed and we await the costume and possibly venue changes before the theatre continues.
Also for years now in some cases 300 of our fellow seafarers are held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia. They spent each day under the threat of mutilation and or death.