Archivi tag: Kriton Metaxopoulos

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


IMG_7327Οι ανακριτικές διαδικασίες που αφορούν το τραγικό ναυάγιο του Norman Atlantic εισέρχονται πλέον, μετά από αρκετούς μήνες και χάρη στην πίεση που ασκήθηκε τόσο από τους πληρεξουσίους δικηγόρους θυμάτων και επιβατών όσο και από τον Ιταλικό τύπο (με σειρά επικριτικών δημοσιευμάτων), σε ουσιαστική και κρίσιμη για ην εξέλιξη της όλης διαδικασίας φάση.

Συγκεκριμένα όπως προκύπτει από το υπ. αριθ. 20598/14 έγγραφο του Δικαστηρίου του Bari (Τμήμα Προκαταρκτικής Έρευνας) εκδόθηκε ήδη και κοινοποιείται σε όλα τα εμπλεκόμενα μέρη (κατηγορούμενοι , μηνυτές κλπ.) ειδοποίηση για τη διεξαγωγή αποδεικτικής διαδικασίας/πραγματογνωμοσύνης για το πλοίο Norman Atlantic.

ELT_18042015-1Συγκεκριμένα, η Δικαστής  Alessandra Piliego του Δικαστηρίου του Μπάρι, έχοντας λάβει το αίτημα του Εισαγγελέα προς διεξαγωγή πραγματογνωμοσύνης με σκοπό τη διερεύνηση της λειτουργικότητας του εξοπλισμού του πλοίου, τη συμμόρφωση με τους κανονισμούς ασφαλείας, το κλείσιμο των γκαράζ του πλοίου κατά τη διάρκεια του ταξιδιού, την έρευνα των αιτιών της πυρκαγιάς και της εξάπλωσής της, τον τρόπο με τον οποίο πραγματοποιήθηκε η εκκένωση και η διάσωση,

ΔΕΧΘΗΚΕ το αίτημα του Εισαγγελέως,

ΔΙΟΡΙΣΕ ομάδα 5 πραγματογνωμόνων (πολλοί από τους οποίους εκτέλεσαν χρέη πραγματογνώμονα και στην υπόθεση  του ναυαγίου του Costa Concordia) και

ΠΡΟΣΔΙΟΡΙΣΕ την ανάθεση της πραγματογνωμοσύνης και τη σαφή διατύπωση των ερωτημάτων στα οποία θα κληθούν να απαντήσουν, στις 22.05.2015 στο Δικαστήριο του Μπάρι στις 9.30 π.μ.

Επίσης, διατάσσει την κοινοποίηση αυτού του εγγράφου σε όλα τα εμπλεκόμενα μέρη, περιλαμβανομένων και των επιβατών και μάλιστα (και) με δημόσιο τρόπο (δημοσίευση σε ιστότοπους κλπ.).

EFSYN_23042015-1Οι δικηγόροι του pool Giustizia per Norman Atlantic με τους οποίους συνεργαζόμαστε στενά θα παραστούν στη σχετική ακρόαση εκπροσωπώντας τις οικογένειες θυμάτων και τους επιβάτες για τους οποίους έχουν ήδη υποβάλει μηνύσεις και θα καλέσουν εκ νέου ενώπιον του Δικαστηρίου τις εγκαλούμενες εταιρίες ΑΝΕΚ και VISEMAR να υποβάλουν επίσημα σοβαρές προτάσεις αποζημίωσης και χρηματικής ικανοποίησης των οικογενειών των θυμάτων και των επιβατών, ανταποκρινόμενες στις τραγικές συνθήκες του ατυχήματος , ενώ την επόμενη εβδομάδα (και πάντως πριν τις 22/05/2015) θα υποβάλουν εκ νέου αίτημα στον αρμόδιο Εισαγγελέα για τη λήψη δείγματος DNA από μέλη των οικογενειών αγνοουμένων του τραγικού ναυαγίου.

REALNEWS_19042015-1Επισημαίνεται ότι μετά την ολοκλήρωση της ως άνω πραγματογνωμοσύνης θα καταστεί δυνατή και η αναμενόμενη από καιρό επιστροφή στους επιβάτες του Norman Atlantic και όσων προσωπικών αντικειμένων και οχημάτων τους ανήκουν και δεν καταστράφηκαν από την εκδηλωθείσα το πλοίο πυρκαγιά.

                                                                                                 Κρίτων Μεταξόπουλος                                                                                               Δικηγόρος, LL.M.