The Italian Association of Tour Operators announced Friday Costa Cruises has agreed to give each of the more than 3,000 passengers on board the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship $14,400 in compensation.
In addition to the payout, Costa will refund the cost of the cruise as well as travel expenses following the January 13 accident. The company will draw up separate agreements for passengers who were injured and for the families of passengers who died. The compensation agreement stipulates that passengers who accept the payout cannot file a lawsuit against Costa Cruises, according to the Italian Association of Tour Operators.
Costa also offered "its profound condolences to the families of the victims, our continued sympathy to the families of the missing, and our deep regret and sorrow for the damages and hardship the Costa Concordia accident caused to all its guests."
As of Tuesday, the death toll in the accident had reached 16. At least sixteen others remain missing. The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it struck rock and capsized Friday, January 13. Survivors say chaos ensued almost immediately as there seemed to be no direction or leadership from Captain Francesco Schettino or top crew members. Schettino had already fled the Costa Concordia in a lifeboat when he spoke to an Italian Coast Guard official who ordered him to return to the ship to direct the evacuation. Schettino remained in his lifeboat. He has been arrested and could be charged with shipwreck, abandoning ship and manslaughter for fleeing the ship while passengers and crew remained on board fighting for lifeboats.
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