Archivi tag: giustizia per norman atlantic

Norman Atlantic: criminal trial starts 4 years from the disaster

At exactly 4 years from the fire and shipwreck of the Norman Atlantic, here it comes the official news that the Prosecutor’s office of Bari has finally requested the indictment for the 32 suspects (30 individuals and two companies) accused of the disaster occurred off the Albanian coast in the night between 27 and 28 December 2014, which caused 31 victims, including 12 confirmed deaths and 19 bodies never found, and the serious injury of 64 of the approximately 500 passengers, all remained on board in stormy sea for two days and beyond, and that even today they have not overcome the trauma of that terrible experience.

No fire alarm was issued, no warning from the crew, and the passengers awoke at night between coulters of smoke and panic scenes. A panic which released – in many – the worst in human race. The first to abandon ship were some of the crew, dropping quickly the only usable lifeboat, with just a third of its precious capacity of persons. During the retrieve of the passengers using the baskets lowered from helicopters, others have literally attacked the rescuers, with bites and punches, just to be saved first, others refused to leave priority to women and children. Some people threw himself into the water to escape the flames, and was quickly swallowed by the waves of the icy December sea.

The news of the signing of the request for judgment had been circulating for some weeks now, but reaching the 4th anniversary, it comes an official confirmation that the prosecutors have requested the criminal trial for the legal representative of Visemar, the company that owns the ferry, Carlo Visentini, the two legal representatives of the Greek Anek Lines, charterer of the ship, the commander Argilio Giacomazzi and 26 members of the crew. After confirming the serious responsibilities and negligence that emerged in the probationary phase, the suspects are accused, for various reasons, of crimes of negligent cooperation in shipwreck, culpable homicide and multiple culpable injuries in addition to numerous violations on safety and the navigation code.

The date of the first hearing with the judge of the preliminary hearing has not yet been set, but we already know that – in order to overcome the logistical difficulties of the court of Bari – the Bitonto bunker room was again made available, in which we will stand for this part of the criminal trial.

Our team “Giustizia per Norman Atlantic” has represented so far about fifty people whose lives were devastated in various ways in the shipping incident, as passengers or as family members of victims or missing, and for many of those we lauched the multi-milion civil case running in Bari, that lately moved a further step in extending the compensation responsabilities to another company of Visemar Group.

For many others, forced by the long waiting and personal difficulties, we were asked to negotiate and close their case with a transaction, but now with the criminal trial pending we are confident that justice will soon be brought to all, even for those that couldn’t wait for a judicial and more fair compensation. New clients have recently joined, to overcome the lack of results they faced in other countries and different strategies.

But for all passengers, more and beyond an economic compensation, the first right to justice is that those who have made so many mistakes will pay with years in prison and companies will be punished with heavy punitive damages, so that this tragedy will prevent the recurrence of disasters in the world of navigation by ferries

The 2019 will now be the year of the Norman Atlantic trial, and we will ensure to make it as productive and effective as possible.

Annunci

Documento Newspaper on our client’s testimonies

An article from Documento newspaper in Greece, recently took into account our legal Team collegue Mr. Kriton Metaxopoulos and some of our client’s interview.

Numerous faults, omissions and violations of basic safety rules are detected in the report on the causes of the tragedy of the Norman Atlantic shipwreck from the experts appointed by the Italian Justice which is currently displayed in «Documento» newspaper. At the same time, people who experienced the events of December 28th 2014, talk to «Documento» newspaper and describe the dramatic moments they experienced in the Adriatic, where they literally faced death.

The appointed experts reported that the ship was overloaded with vehicles and especially refrigerator trucks. The results showed that the on board vehicles were more than the available sockets. In this context, many refrigerator trucks had their engines working while the ship was on board. Furthermore, the experts concluded that the fire caused by a vehicle engine/machine, a fact that may be related to the operation of the engines the on board refrigerator trucks. It is mentioned that the inadequacy of the available sockets on the ship compared with the number of refrigerator trucks became subject of the debate among captain Argillio Giaromazzi, ship-owner Argillio Giaromazzi and representative of ANEK, few hours before the fatal incident.  It is also noted that due to overload of the ship, the vehicles in parking lots were almost stuck with each other.

According to the appointed experts, the construction of the ship, the arrangement of its inner spaces and the time required for the activation of the ship’s fire-alarm system were the basic factors that the fire impossible to be extinguished on time.

Mr. Kriton Metaxopoulos, the lawyer who represents families of victims of the Norman Atlantic shipwreck along with Italian lawyers, mentioned in Documento newspaper the following: ‘’The facts resulted from questioning procedure until today and basically the experts’ findings confirm all the allegations and arguments of both families of the victims and tragedy survivors. In any case, according to my opinion, there is no doubt about the civil and criminal liability of the defendants’’.

Survivors’ Testimonies

  • Mr. Ioannis Vassalos (passenger): ‘’There was no plan and the crew was not on its duty positions.  The situation was out of control.’’
  • Mr. Olivier Coissard (French passenger): ‘’There were such high temperatures that our shoes melted and our bags got burnt.’’
  • Mr. Evangelos Tsoukis (passenger): ‘’Every one of us acted spontaneously. […] There was no coordinated action or any information by the crew…’’
  • Mr. Leonidas Konstantinidis (truck driver): ‘’We were trapped and fire was getting closer to us. The only option seemed to be the sea’’.

Two years from the Norman Atlantic tragedy – Due anni dalla tragedia Norman Atlantic

norman-atlantic-in-fiammeExactly two years ago, on December the 28th 2014, the NORMAN ATLANTIC ferry, property of the Italian shipowner VISEMAR and rented by the Greek company ANEK LINES, departed from Greece and directed to Ancona, caught fire in the middle of the night off the Albanian coast, and in short time went drifting off the Adriatic sea, in a storm of six meters waves and force 8 wind, with almost 500 people on board and overrun with cars, trucks and Tir carrying goods from Greece to Italy, especially olive oil, which would then fuel the flames for days. The origins of the fire are still under investigation, via a procedure of recording evidence that, as required by the Public Prosecutor of Bari, will have to verify not only the evolution of the shipping incident, but also, and above all, the possible Crew responsibilities in emergency management on board, and the companies ones for malfunctions, as it seemed clear from the start, that the latter turned the fire – started from the deck 4 of the ship, in a real holocaust for dozens of people, 10 dead and over 19 missing, imprisoning the rest of the survivors on the top and outside deck of the ship, drifting inexorably and internally devoured by flames, and to be recovered only by helicopter and transferred one by one. A difficult rescue operation because of adverse weather and sea conditions, and that, despite having involved over 20 merchant and naval ships of different nationalities and several rescue helicopters, lasted for more than two days – an infinite time for those caught between the grip of toxic smokes, flames, incandescent floors and the icy cold of the water jets – sprayed continuously by emergency ships. The very few who managed to take their seats on lifeboats or reach the floating boat dropped overboard, lived an experience of terror and horror, even worse than those who remained trapped on the burning ferry.

No fire alarm was issued, no warning from the crew, and the passengers awoke at night between coulters of smoke and panic scenes. A panic which released – in many – the worst in human race. The first to abandon ship were some of the crew, dropping quickly the only usable lifeboat, with just a third of its precious capacity of persons. During the retrieve of the passengers using the baskets lowered from helicopters, others have literally attacked the rescuers, with bites and punches, just to be saved first, others refused to leave priority to women and children. Some people threw himself into the water to escape the flames, and was quickly swallowed by the waves of the icy December sea. Some bodies of drowned victims were found after days, torn apart by evident shark bites. Nearly twenty people are missing, but the count of those missing is certainly more serious, considering the presence on board of many illegal immigrants.

In the tragedy – however – there were also scenes of altruism and heroism, as in the case of the Orthodox priest who generously helped many shipwrecked persons to climb the dangerous rope ladder thrown by the rescue ship to the lifeboat on which they stood, leaving the way to all families before falling into the sea and get lost forever; or the greek doctor, who still works in Italy, which remained on board the ferry up until the end, providing his assistance to fellow sufferers, or like some truck drivers who, at great personal risk, managed to hook the towing tugs cable to the Norman Atlantic.

A horror lived in long and intense measure, in extreme psychophysical and weather conditions, which left indelible marks inside all people escaped from death, diagnosed in terms of “post-traumatic stress disorder“, studied for the first time in World War I and Vietnam veterans, and then ascertained as a psychological pathology, typical of disaster survivors, as in the case of the collapse of the twin towers.

After two years we are still waiting for the closing stage of the preliminary investigation by the magistracy and experts appointed by the Criminal Court of Bari. A report that will hopefully shed some light on the many shadows that since the beginning we have emphasized, with regard to ship-owners, the carrier, crew, those who certified the ship but also – and above all – in the maritime great transportation system, where the law of profit – too often – seems to prevail over the safety rules and accident prevention.

Avv. Massimiliano Gabrielli a bordo del norman atlanticOur team “Giustizia per Norman Atlantic” has represented so far about fifty people whose lives were devastated in various ways in the shipping incident, as passengers or as family members of victims or missing. Since the early days we were involved because of our experience in maritime disasters such as the sinking of the “Concordia” and “Jolly Nero“, and directly in the forefront we have provided (in person) assistance for immediate needs and to return home several families, support in the investigations on the DNA for the possible identification of missing persons, aid for the recover of the vehicles following the withdrawal of the vessel seizure (a year and a half after the accident), and then starting – on one hand – filing about 50 complaints and an intense work of investigations in the criminal proceedings – through our consultants and accessing the ship, and – on the other side – opening the negotiations with Anek & Visemar lawyers, in order to achieve a fair and honorable compensation in favor of our clients. Continua a leggere

APERTO IL PORTELLONE DEL NORMAN ATLANTIC

150507710-118e363f-b239-433d-a977-4a35de312779Il portellone della Norman Atlantic è stato finalmente aperto, dopo oltre cinque mesi dal naufragio che causò la morte di 11 persone (18 passeggeri ufficialmente ancora dispersi), in funzione delle attività tecniche disposte dal GIP di Bari nell’ambito dell’incidente probatorio per stabilire le cause dell’incendio ed i malfunzionamenti che hanno provocato il naufragio del traghetto al largo delle coste albanesi.

150508594-a8b856a4-262c-4f76-884b-189156e6e172-2Le operazioni di apertura dell’accesso automezzi alla nave, ormeggiata davanti al terminal crociere del porto di Bari, erano iniziate la scorsa settimana, coinvolgendo i tecnici, Vigili del Fuoco, Capitaneria di Porto, Guardia di Finanza e Polizia, ed hanno comportato il taglio con la fiamma ossidrica dei pistoni del portellone, praticamente fusi dal calore, calandolo lentamente attraverso due enormi gru.

145744681-f6923040-f48b-4a00-9254-504a9294202aDall’esterno sono visibili le carcasse di TIR, Pullman ed autovetture completamente bruciate, parcheggiati sul ponte che per primo sembra essere andato a fuoco. Si vedono chiaramente le strutture in ferro della nave bruciate e in parte crollate, mezzi pesanti ed auto totalmente distrutti, anche se risulta che ai ponti 1 e 2 il carico ed i mezzi siano rimasti praticamente intatti (ma non è affatto detto che siano recuperabili, a causa della intensa esposizione a calore, fumo ed acqua del sistema drenching).

145744744-7a95962d-a1bb-428f-8ae9-3cb5abc5d4caUna volta aperta la poppa della nave, saranno prelevati campioni dei liquidi che si trovano all’interno del ponte perchè vengano analizzati dall’Arpa che dovrà dare indicazioni per lo smaltimento, al fine di evitare eventuali danni ambientali, ed a partire dall’11 giugno si procederà poi allo svuotamento (tecnicamente chiamato ‘smassamentò) del relitto e i tecnici nominati dal gip nell’ambito dell’incidente probatorio saliranno a bordo, dando inizio alle operazioni di perizia vera e propria. Il nostro pool di avvocati sarà presente per rappresentare le parti offese, affiancato dal consulente Prof. Antonio Scamardella, ingegnere navale della università di Napoli. Le attività tecniche si concluderanno entro i prossimi sei mesi, e si presume che durante questo periodo possano essere rinvenuti a bordo altri resti umani appartenuti ai molti dispersi ed al numero ancora imprecisato di clandestini che, si sa per dato praticamente certo, erano presenti nei locali garage durante l’incidente..

A seguito dei primi sopralluoghi da parte dei periti, si procederà quindi al progressivo scarico degli automezzi e dei container, anche al fine della messa in sicurezza e smaltimento del relitto, e possibile restituzione di quanto non distrutto dal fuoco agli aventi diritto. A bordo del traghetto, oltre alle autovetture, viaggiavano moltissimi mezzi pesanti per trasporto di generi alimentari, come pesce, olio di oliva etc..

Vedi il VIDEO del servizio del TG1: DENTRO LA NORMAN ATLANTIC

Pre-Trial probative hearing for #NormanAtlantic

IMG_7327After a long wait, the Public Prosecutors of Bari have finally filed the request for the probative hearing, in order to proceed through the Judge experts, to access the ship and examine, jointly with the other parties, to all the data equipment, and investigation results, carried out so far. The experts will be ask to ensure the nature of the malfunction of the fire alarm system, and all supply systems of the motorship Norman Atlantic, the observance of the regulations on ship safety, loading and securing of vehicles, the effective closing of the garage, identification of the causes of the fire, and its propagation, the correctness of the emergency procedures, evacuation and timing of the alarms, in addition to the reliefs of all technical data, in function to the next processual phase of the case .

The GIP (investigating Judge) of Bari, Dr. Alessandra Piliego, has stated the first pre-trial hearing to May 22- 2015, in order to formulate the investigation requests and to formally give the assignment to a college of experts already appointed. We already know the names of some of this experts, or auxiliaries, for being consultants or experts in the Concordia case.

The long list of injured parties in the hearing decree document, is only partial because it is not updated with all further complaints for several other passengers, only recently filed – in many parties of Italy – close to the expiry period of three months after the fact, and apparently not yet formally dispatched to the attention of Bari court offices. This will not be a difficulty as, out of the fact that only some of the passengers apparently proposed a complaint, the GIP ordered the notification of the decree about the probative hearing with public announce, disposing the publication of the document on institutional sites and its transmission to news agency.

norman-atlantic-sportellone[1]We looked forward to start the judicial proceeding operations, that incredibly seemed destined to remain suspended for a long time more. The situation, we must critically comment, seems to have been resolved only with the media pressure most recently placed by the cruise companies Costa Crociere and MSC, complaining about the occupation of the cruise dock in the port of Bari by the wreck Norman Atlantic, from the gruesome and not very reassuring appearance, containing a lot of heavy trucks still loaded of food in an advanced state of decomposition: so, for them, the Norman Atlantic is an inconvenient and stinks wreck.

They seem to forget, however, that this wreck still holds, allegedly, other passenger’s corpse who have not been found or that were not even recorded in boarding list, and that for more than 120 days, many missing’s relatives are anxious to recover and bring home the bodies of their family members, or at least to know if one of the corpses already found on board or at sea in recent months belongs to their relative.

On Monday we will present a formal request to the Prosecutor of Bari in order to proceed, without further delay, to the sample collection for recognition of DNA on family members of some of the missing, and that firstly ask, indeed legitimately require, to know.

After the expert’s operations will also be possible to proceed to a possible restitution, in favor of claimants, of the recoverable vehicles and personal property, if not destroyed in the fire of 28/12/2014.

Our lawyers Massimiliano Gabrielli, Cesare Bulgheroni and Alessandra Guarini will take part at the hearing on May 22, primarily to monitor and protect the interests of the injured parties, but also to assert immediately passenger’s rights, which are still waiting a real offer from the companies.

As for today, Anek Lines and Visemar have not made any kind of concrete offer, avoiding a diligent behavior but mostly, providing an initial and adequate sum for compensation, due, in relation to the victims’ families, some of which, as in the case of truck drivers, have left wives and children without any form of maintenance .

WE ENCLOSE THE FULL DECREE ORDER THAT STATE THE PROBATIVE HEARING

Norman Atlantic: l’Avv. Bulgheroni in Procura a Bari

cesare bullL’Avv. Cesare Bulgheroni del nostro pool si è recato oggi dì nuovo in Procura della Repubblica a Bari per incontrare i responsabili delle indagini sull’incendio del Norman Atlantic, tuttora in corso, al fine di verificare lo stato delle stesse e coordinare i prossimi appuntamenti; è previsto infatti per il giorno 28.04.2015 il conferimento di incarico ai consulenti della Procura per svolgere ulteriori esami ed accertamenti tecnici non ripetibili ex art. 360 c.p.p. nei confronti dei nuovi indagati (due membri equipaggio), nell’estrazione dei dati ed analisi dal sistema di rilevamento incendi (autosafe – fire alarm control panel) la cui centrale è collocata sulla plancia della nave ormeggiata in banchina a Bari, e nella estrazione dei dati contenuti nel telefono cellulare Samsung in uso al Comandante Argilio Giacomazzi la notte dell’incidente. Inoltre i PM di Bari dovranno decidere se procedere alle notifiche riguardo alla richiesta di incidente probatorio tramite pubblici proclami o con notifiche dirette a tutte le parti offese. Ad oggi ancora non è stata fissata la data di prima udienza per l’incidente probatorio che dovrebbe svolgersi quanto prima. Proseguono infine le operazione di identificazione delle vittime e di analisi DNA dei corpi rinvenuti a bordo ed in mare, ultimo caso circa due settimane fa ad Ostuni.

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Mr. Cesare Bulgheroni, one of th lawyers of our pool went today again in the Prosecutor’s Office in Bari to meet the investigators on the case of Norman Atlantic, still in progress, in order to check the status of the same and coordinate the upcoming events; it is expected for the day 28/04/2015 the transfer of assignment to the consultants of the prosecutor to conduct further tests and technical assessments not repeatable art. 360 Code of Criminal Procedure against the new investigated (two crew members), data extraction and analysis from the fire detection system (Autosafe – fire alarm control panel) whose center panel lies on the bridge of the ship moored at the quay in Bari, and in the extraction of data from the Samsung phone in use to the Commander Argilio Giacomazzi the night of the accident. In addition, the PM of Bari will have to decide whether to make the notifications concerning the request for the probative evidence hearing through public proclamations or notifications direct to all offended parties. The date still has not been fixed for the first hearing in the recording of evidence procedure that should take place as soon as possible. Finally, it continue operation of victims identification and DNA analysis of the bodies found on board and at sea, the last event about two weeks ago in Ostuni.

Mr. Metaxopoulos to Eleftheros Typos: “It is better for the Greek victims to address Italian Lawyers with their case”.

Interview given by our partner in Athens Mr. Metaxopoulos to a major, widely distributed Greek newspaper (Eleftheros Typos).

“It is better for the Greek victims to address Italian Lawyers / to approach Italian Lawyers with their case”.

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