Concordia survivors blame Italy for 'stolen' possessions

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The wreck of the Costa Concordia has almost been completely dismantled. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
10:45 CEST+02:00
A group of French survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster have pointed the finger at Italian authorities over the missing jewelry, money and electrical goods they were storing in the ship's safes.

The goods were hastily abandoned on January 12th, 2012, when the ship listed and partially sank after running aground off the island of Giglio, Tuscany, killing 32 people.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Costa Cruises paid more than €11,000 in compensation to the French victims. However, the compensation agreements promised they would receive their goods once they were recovered from the vessel.

Now some 390 French survivors claim they have not been given back anything, even though the wreck has since been emptied and almost completely dismantled at a dry dock in Genoa.

“All of the safes on the upper deck seem to have mysteriously disappeared,” Anne Decrè, the leader of the collective, told French paper Parisien.

“The incompetence of Costa Cruises is the same as that of its captain,” Decrè added, referring to Captain Francesco Schettino, who has been sentenced to 16 years in jail for his role in the disaster.

But Costa were quick to defend themselves of allegations of incompetence, saying in a statement the responsibility for the goods fell on the coastguard, because following the disaster the ship was impounded by the Italian authorities and declared a crime scene.

The company also hinted that the possessions might have been forever lost to the briny deep or even looters.

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“Many of the safes on the upper deck fell into the water and have not yet been found,” the company added.

In the months following the disaster, unscrupulous divers are thought to have made off with millions in stolen goods from the doomed ship, including champagne, jewellery and 300-year-old woodblock prints by the Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai.

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