Report details Concordia settlements

By Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Corp. has settled about two-thirds of the passenger claims resulting from the sinking of the Costa Concordia off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012.

In its annual report filed with securities regulators, Carnival said that as of Jan. 22, 2013, it had agreements with 62% of passengers and 93% of the crew who were on the Concordia.

It said substantially all of the costs of raising the sunken ship and the cost of legal claims will be covered by insurance.

The filing details eight lawsuits related to the Concordia incident that have been filed, including four in January. Cruise line ticket contracts generally say that lawsuits alleging injury on a ship must be filed within a year of the cause of the injury.

One recent suit, Gual vs. Carnival Corp., was filed Jan. 9 by a group of 10 Spanish citizens in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Two others, Ankhimova vs. Carnival and King vs. Carnival, were filed in January in U.S. District Court in southern Florida, while a fourth, Lynch vs. Carnival, was filed in U.S. District Court for eastern California.

Carnival also disclosed in its report that on Jan. 24 Costa was notified that the chief prosecutor of Grosseto, Italy, intends to charge Costa for acts committed by employees in connection with the Concordia incident.

If he proceeds, the prosecutor will have to present evidence at a preliminary hearing this spring, Carnival said.

Carnival also said it believes it has meritorious defenses to the claims and that any liability that may result from the proceedings would not have a material adverse effect on its finances.

To buttress its business prospects, Costa has launched a new international ad campaign called the "Real Costa," which seeks to "enhance Costa's image and describe its exceptional vacation experiences through the perspective of its guests and crew."

"Over the next few years, we expect to fully recover from the ship incident and continue to build on our leadership positions," the filing said.
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