Archivi tag: NEWS

PRIMA UDIENZA PENALE – 06 maggio 2019

On May 6, 2019, the first preliminary hearing of the Norman Atlantic criminal case was held in the Bitonto bunker room near Bari. The large number of trial parties (public prosecutors and consultants, lawyers for the many defendants, civil lawyers and members of the harbor master’s office, ministries officies and security, as well as journalists and press) made it necessary to move the hearing to a separate branch of the Bari courthouse, which therefore on each day provided for in the calendar set by the judge, will be opened and dedicated specifically to the needs of our process. The only defendant present in the courtroom was Carlo Visentini, owner of the Norman Atlantic’s company, while no member of the crew or the Greek company decided to attend the first court hearing, despite the regularity of the notifications, and therefore the criminal trial against them will continue without any delay, in absentia.

Even among the victims no one was present, but this is obviously due to the fact that for the most part they are people living far from Bari, mainly Greece and Albania, but also because of the fact that these are the first bars of the preliminary hearing , characterized by formal procedural activity and of little substantial interest for the people who were on board the ship. Furthermore – as we expected – the families of the victims and the passengers who filed to be a civil part in the criminal trial are very few compared to the number of passengers and injured parties, but this is mainly due to the fact that most victims have concluded transactions or have acted and continue to claim damages in front of the civil court.

Our pool of lawyers, on May 6th, has instead formalized at the beginning of the hearing the request for the establishment of a civil party claim in the criminal trial, for all our clients, in this way transferring the entire claim for damages – pursuant to art. 75 Italian Criminal Procedure Code – from the civil court office directly in the criminal trial, having already filed,  as you know, a previous case within two years from the claim, in favor of all our clients and in a civil court, to avoid the possible two-year forfeiture of the right to compensation, envisaged by EC regulation 392/2009; when – on the next criminal hearing (set for May 21, 2019) – the civil action claim will be accepted and declared by the judge, this will automatically lead to the interruption of the previous civil proceeding, ritually registered to the role and pending at the Civil Court of Bari RG 20070/2016 – dott. Ruffino Antonio, next hearing scheduled for 11.28.2019. Continua a leggere

Annunci

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.

Green light for the NORMAN ATLANTIC’s Civil case in Bari

The civil Court of Bari

Following the last hearing in the NORMAN ATLANTIC’s civil case running in the court of Bari, the judge had kept the file in reserve on the many exceptions raised by the counterpart lawyers to support the ineffectiveness and illegitimacy of the notifications and of the whole trial action; on the contrary, by order of the judge dott.ssa SIMONE RAFFAELLA, the Court has instead decided to proceed further in the case and has accepted our request to extend the claim for 26 million euro against VISEMAR COSTRUZIONI, owner of the “naked” hull of the Norman Atlantic ship, then leased to Visemar Navigazione and in turn from this rented to the Greek company ANEK AE. Following the summons for the third party’s call in the trial, the first company will then be jointly held with the others to pay all damages to passengers.

The next hearing of the trial is scheduled for 03/28/2019 09:30 AM FOR THE CALL OF THE THIRD COMPANY.

In the meantime, the criminal trial – passed the phase of the probative incident that has verified the presence of serious responsibilities and malfunctions as with the expert report ordered by the preliminary investigation judge – is undergoing a decisive delay in the start of the trial phase due to structural problems in the court of justice building of Bari; in fact, starting from the end of July, is being declared the stop of all criminal cases with not a few organizational problems for the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is now without a proper building to celebrate the trials.

We will keep you up-to-date on upcoming developments in civil hearings and criminal cases.


LUCE VERDE PER IL PROCESSO CIVILE A BARI

A seguito della ultima udienza nella causa civile sul naufragio della NORMAN ATLANTIC presso il tribunale di Bari, il giudice aveva trattenuto il fascicolo in riserva sulle molte eccezioni sollevate dai legali di controparte per sostenere la nullità delle notifiche e della azione processuale; al contrario con ordinanza del giudice dott.ssa SIMONE RAFFAELLA, il Tribunale ha invece disposto procedersi oltre nel processo ed ha accolto la ns richiesta di estendere la domanda risarcitoria per 26 milioni di euro circa nei confronti della VISEMAR COSTRUZIONI, proprietaria dello scafo “nudo” della m/n Norman Atlantic, poi concessa in locazione a Visemar Navigazione e a sua volta da questa noleggiata alla compagnia greca ANEK AE. A seguito della citazione per la chiamata del terzo nel processo, anche la prima società sarà quindi tenuta in solido con le altre al risarcimento dei danni a favore dei passeggeri.

La prossima udienza per la prosecuzione del giudizio è fissata al 28/03/2019 09:30 PER CHIAMATA DEL TERZO.

Nel frattempo il giudizio penale – superata la fase dell’incidente probatorio che ha accertato la presenza di gravi responsabilità e malfunzionamenti con la perizia disposta dal giudice delle indagini preliminari – sta subendo un deciso ritardo nell’avvio della fase dibattimentale a causa dei problemi strutturali nel palazzo di giustizia di Bari; di fatto a partire da fine luglioo’è stato lo stop di tutte le cause penali e non pochi problemi organizzativi per la Procura, che si ritrova senza aule per celebrare i processi. Vi terremo aggiornati a breve sui prossimi sviluppi delle udienze civili e della causa penale.

Fire emergency in Greece on Anek’s ferry΄El Venizelos’ – ΄ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟΣ ΒΕΝΙΖΕΛΟΣ΄: ΜΙΑ ΑΚΟΜΗ ΠΥΡΚΑΓΙΑ ΞΕΣΠΑΣΕ ΣΕ ΟΧΗΜΑΤΑΓΩΓΟ ΠΛΟΙΟ ΤΩΝ ΑΝΕΚ LINES

In the night between August the 28th and the 29th 2018 the ship Eleftherios Venizelos, another ferry from Anek Lines, during its travel from Piraeus to Crete with 875 passengers and 141 crew on board, was hit by a serious fire in the garage area, so much that the Captain was forced to declare general emergency and abandonment of the ship.

The emergency operations were not easy and implied the intervent of two firefighting tug boats, ten tenders, 48 firefighters and two emergency teams, as the fire was very quickly expanding from the lower decks and heavy black smoke was inclosing the ship.

The dynamic of the new accident is similar to the disaster of the Norman Atlantic, which as this one, was operating under the flag of the Greek company ANEK: a vehicle parked on board caught fire so that from 12am the board started to send emergency signals to get help from the Coast Guard.

After we assisted dozens of passengers who suffered a devastating experience onboard of the Anek’s ferry Norman Atlantic in the nights of the 28/29 December 2014 where so many lost their life, an all others suffered for their personal safety and for the losses of their personal belongings and for which we already submitted to the Civil Court of Bari our law suit against Anek and Visemar (see our web page on such case: https://giustiziapernormanatlantic.wordpress.com/), we face another case with a fire that broke out in the car deck of a ferry.

The emergency operations on the Eleftherios Venizelos went on during all night and the ship was at the end escorted back into Piraeus and all the passengers were disambarked only during the morning of the 29 August.

Media sources report that the ship has had many problems operating so much that since 2014 it has a discontinuous use, with some short-term rentals (including one to the Greek government for the transportation of migrants from the islands) and sporadic income in service as a replace of other ships Anek stopped for repairs. This raises questions in relation to safety of the ship. These questions will be adressed by with a specific complaint we will file to authorities that have already opened an investigation to find out the causes of the fire and the reasons for the lack of containment of the flames in the garage by the drenching system, providing all the trial expert’s reports on Norman Atlantic about critical issues on fires in Ro/Ro ship’s garage open decks. Continua a leggere

Norman Atlantic: il punto della situazione a tre anni dalla tragedia

Today, December 28, 2017 falls on the third anniversary of the shipwreck and fire of the Norman Atlantic, and all those involved in the tragedy, can not but remember this date, and from our side we must briefly make a point of the situation about the status of trials and compensation.

  • The criminal trial is struggling to start, despite the probationary phase was closed in April 2017 and the report from the experts appointed by the Court of preliminary investigation of Bari has ascertained the actual existence of many malfunctions on the ship, failure to comply with the emergency procedures by crew and the very serious responsibilities of both Visemar (owner of the ship) and Anek (carrier). We know that the Public Prosecutors assigned to the Norman Atlantic case, in recent months have also dealt with some large and demanding proceedings on organized crime in Puglia, and we are therefore convinced that within the beginning of the new year it will finally be notified the request to trial to all the investigated subjects, starting the expected criminal trial phase, which will lead truth and justice to the victims. As already happened in all the trials on naval disasters that we have followed and continue to follow.
  • Negotiations: concerning on the compensation side, negotiations have reached a level of offers that has been considered by many passengers to be very far from the rightful expectations, even though many have been forced to accept these offers, due to economic difficulties in they were in, especially in Greece. We know that from the ascertaining of liability troughout the criminal case, we will avoid the compensation ceilings that so far have allowed the shipowners to keep the negotiations on a low level, and therefore the negotiations profile remains open to new possible results.
  • The civil trial: in December last year the civil lawsuit started, to avoid incurring the decadence that the European legislation introduced into our legal system, forcing passengers to act judicially within two years from a maritime accident that involved a compensation right, to avoid forfeiture. Defined by the newspapers a record process, the case of the Norman is the second major civil case in the maritime field in Italy: between our team “Justice for the Norman Atlantic” and the team formed by the Turinese Ambrosio & Commodo, Bona & Oliva and the Greeks Pavlakis-Moschos, two separate civil actions were started in 2017 at the Court of Bari, for a total request of almost ten million euro. The first hearing in our trial took place on 24.10.2017, and the judge Dr Simoni Raffaella has kept the file in reserve to decide on the many exceptions raised by the counterparts about the regularity of notifications, passive legitimacy and many other preliminary issues. Just a few days ago we received the order by the court which rejected all the insidious exceptions of Anek’s lawyers regarding the notifications and simply ordered the integration of the deeds with the facts acquired as a result of the probative phase from the criminal procedure (on the dynamic of incident and responsibility of the carrier) as well as about the specification of the damage divided for each position of the passengers and / or family members of the victims, then fixing the case for its continuation at the next hearing on June 26th 2018.

The first confrontation in court with the lawyers of Anek and Visemar, therefore, has definitely closed in favor of the victims and the civil case, pending the developments on the criminal procedures front, will be able to take place regularly in the next months in its preliminary phase. Continua a leggere

Incidente probatorio Norman Atlantic – i risultati della perizia

Nel procedimento penale Rg 20598/14 sul disastro marittimo del Norman Atlantic abbiamo finalmente raggiunto la fase conclusiva dell’indagine svolta dai periti nominati dal tribunale di Bari nell’ambito dell’incidente probatorio diretto dal Giudice delle Indagini Preliminari dott.ssa Alessandra Piliego. periti nominati dal tribunale di Bari nell’ambito dell’incidente probatorio diretto dal Giudice delle Indagini Preliminari dott.ssa Alessandra Piliego.

A partire dal 27 marzo 2017, ogni giorno e per una settimane di fila, si è tenuta udienza all’interno dell’aula bunker di Bitonto, onde consentire al collegio peritale di illustrare i risultati della loro indagine e – in una trattazione divisa per blocchi (caricamento e rizzaggio mezzi, incendio, vdr ed apparati di bordo, gestione emergenza, abbandono nave etc.) – i periti si sottoporranno all’esame delle parti per le varie osservazioni, integrazioni, contestazioni e domande di approfondimento.

Le udienze si sono aperte con le prime schermaglie sul tema dell’ordine di esame e controesame ai periti da parte dei vari difensori. La norma processuale (art. 401, V comma cpp) prevede infatti che le prove sono acquisite secondo le forme ed ordine di assunzione stabilite per il dibattimento, e dunque si deve iniziare l’esame con le proprie domande ai periti chi ha richiesto l’incidente probatorio (nella fattispecie i Pubblici Ministeri), seguendo con il controesame da parte degli avvocati difensori dei 18 soggetti indagati. A seguire i difensori delle parti offese (noi), che possono rivolgere domande ed osservazioni solo indirettamente ed attraverso il giudice, il quale, se le ritiene pertinenti, le formula ai periti (in quanto, durante questa fase processuale, le parti offese non sono ancora parti processuali vere e proprie, qualità che assumono solo nel momento in cui viene ammessa la loro costituzione di parte civile, dopo la richiesta di rinvio a giudizio), assieme alle domande di chiarimento che lei stessa riterrà opportuno svolgere in chiusura dell’esame. Ovviamente “parlare” per ultimi rappresenta un vantaggio processuale non indifferente, tanto che durante il dibattimento vero e proprio, l’avvocato difensore dell’imputato è in genere garantita sempre l’ultima “parola”. In questa circostanza tuttavia, nonostante la protesta dei difensori degli indagati di poter intervenire dopo la serie di domande degli avvocati di parte offesa, il GIP ha giustamente ritenuto di mantenere l’ordine previsto dal codice, anche se, con grande disponibilità verso tutti, ha consentito una occasionale inversione di questo ordine per esigenze di alcuni difensori di parte lesa, e comunque ha garantito la possibilità per tutti, PM e difensori degli indagati di tornare su alcuni eventuali punti toccati da domande delle parti civili.

Nella serie di udienze consecutive si è iniziato da una breve e sintetica presentazione, da parte dei periti, delle quasi 700 pagine della loro relazione e sulle loro conclusioni sull’incendio, sulle cause di probabile innesco, tempi di sviluppo e modalità di propagazione, per poi sottoporsi alle domande della Procura, partendo dalla fase di caricazione mezzi (ed è emersa, come vedremo, una certa pressione di Anek sull’equipaggio della NA per imbarcare un numero di camion frigo in modo eccessivo rispetto alla disponibilità di prese, e sempre senza preavviso), delle operazioni di rizzaggio (ovverosia di aggancio dei veicoli pesanti alle paratie a terra, per assicurare la stabilita del carico e bilanciamento nave, eseguite in modo approssimativo ed assolutamente inadeguato, ammassando i mezzi e, sopratutto gli autotreni, troppo vicini uno all’altro, continuando le operazioni di rizzaggio addirittura anche in navigazione, senza comunque portarle a termine), di collegamento dei camion frigo alle prese di corrente (poiché è stato chiarito come sia severamente vietato, durante la navigazione, alimentare il gruppo frigo dei veicoli da trasporto con vano di carico a temperatura controllata, attraverso i motorini diesel che, invece, mantengono autonomamente la refrigerazione durante la circolazione su strada dei mezzi, e quindi questi, una volta imbarcati, vanno disattivati e allacciati alla rete elettrica della nave), il numero delle prese e dei cavi disponibili a bordo (dando evidenza della presenza di più camion frigo rispetto alle prese e cavi di collegamento disponibili sulla nave, il che certamente da evidenza che alcuni autotreni -almeno 3 sul ponte 4- non erano stati collegati all’impianto elettrico della nave e quindi presumibilmente avevano il sistema di refrigerazione con motore a scoppio in funzione durante la navigazione) e molti altri elementi che dimostrano una spregiudicata approssimazione e generale violazione delle norme Solas e del codice SMS alla base della tragedia (parlano di insieme di “errori umani” e di “vistose e intrinseche debolezze” sotto il profilo ingegneristico come cause del disastro) sopratutto per quanto riguarda l’approntamento della nave e del suo carico al viaggio.

Cosa che, d’altronde, era ben nota visto che i nostri clienti lo avevano con molta chiarezza riferito e denunciato sin da subito: gli autotreni erano stati stipati nei ponti garage in modo tale che alcuni autisti erano stati costretti ad uscire dai finestrini non riuscendo ad aprire gli sportelli, non allineati ne agganciati alle “margherite” di fissaggio a terra per il rizzaggio, ed infatti i periti hanno riscontrato che la Safety Way (la via di passaggio per uscire, per eseguire i giri di ronda ed eventuali controlli oltre che come via di fuga) era parzialmente impegnata da alcuni mezzi e lasciava un angusto spazio di circa 40 cm per passare, rendendo oltretutto particolarmente difficoltoso il check sugli allarmi che sono poi scattati in plancia (sopratutto per un marinaio corpulento come Nardulli, che infatti non ha portato a termine la perlustrazione ma si è limitato a comunicare in plancia che il fumo rilevato dai sensori proveniva da un motore a scoppio in funzione), la dotazione e settaggio degli allarmi antincendio (e la loro funzione di rilievo calore/fumo che poteva essere attivata in modalità and/or), la dotazione, capacita e funzionamento degli impianti anti incendio passivi sulla nave (porte tagliafuoco, paratie A60) e di quelli attivi (sprinkler e drenching). Su questo punto, i periti hanno anche accertato che il sistema drencher, quello che si può attivare per zone di divisione della nave come sistema di estinzione massiva ad acqua sui ponti cargo, deve esser aperto manualmente ed in non più di due zone contemporaneamente (mentre nella fattispecie venne avviato, per negligenza, su almeno tre zone (diminuendo quindi la portata e capacita di estinzione dei getti) e su una zona errata (sul ponte 3 e non sul 4).

Secondo la perizia, l’origine dell’incendio si è invece originato proprio sul deck 4, e con ogni probabilità da un motorino a scoppio a servizio di uno dei camion frigo imbarcati, visto che, come spiegato in aula, questi compressori sono diesel raffreddati ad aria, e quando il veicolo è fermo tendono a surriscaldare molto rapidamente, con conseguente e concreto rischio di generare incendi. Di qui il rigoroso divieto di tenerli disattivati durante la navigazione e l’obbligo per tutti i mezzi con carico refrigerato, di allacciarsi alla rete elettrica della nave per garantire il controllo della temperatura sul vano di carico alimentare, o il normale funzionamento dei diversi motorini a servizio (es. per insufflare aria nel trasporto di pesce vivo).

Continua a leggere

Depositata la relazione dei periti -Expert’s report is being filed

IMG_7220NORMAN ATLANTIC criminal trial: after a long wait, it has being finally filed the report, drafted from the experts appointed by the GIP almost a year ago; it is a monumental mass of data, which we will have in our hands shortly.

Given the complexity of the investigations conducted on assignment from Bari Criminal Court, the monumental mass of electronic data annexed to the report and the heterogeneity of the various issues that were addressed into consideration from the college of experts, it was agreed to establish a few number of hearings to present the results.

The hearings will be held – March 20 and 31, and from April the 3rd to the 8th of April – in the Bunker Courtroom of Bitonto, considering the need for adequate space because of the large number of parties allegedly involved in the Trial.

As known, in the meantime we launched a 24 million euro civil action in the Court of Bari, and we are fully confident that the results of the criminal investigations will be decisive to ensure the gross negligence of Anek and Visemar in the Norman Atlantic maritime disaster, canceling the indemnity limits for passengers and victims imposed by the Athens Convention of 1974, and push this trial towards the recognition of punitive damages to be borne by the two shipping companies.


Processo penale NORMAN ATLANTIC: dopo una lunga attesa è stata finalmente depositata la perizia redatta dagli esperti nominati dal GIP quasi un anno fa; si tratta di una imponente massa di dati, che avremo a nostra disposizione a breve.

Vista la complessità delle indagini svolte su incarico del Tribunale penale di Bari, della monumentale massa di dati informatici allegati alla relazione e la eterogeneità dei vari aspetti presi in considerazione dal collegio dei periti, si è deciso di fissare un certo numero di udienze per illustrare i risultati.

Le udienze si terranno il 20 ed il 31 marzo e dal 3 all’8 aprile nell’aula Bunker di Bitonto, considerando la necessità di uno spazio adeguato per via dell’alto numero di parti presumibilmente interessate al processo.

Come noto, abbiamo nel frattempo avviato la azione civile da 24 milioni di euro presso il Tribunale di Bari, e siamo del tutto convinti che i risultati delle indagini penali saranno risolutivi per accertare la colpa grave di Anek e Visemar nel disastro marittimo del Norman Atlantic, annullando i massimali risarcitori per i passeggeri e le vittime imposti dalla Convenzione di Atene del 1974, e spingere questo processo verso il riconoscimento dei danni punitivi a carico delle due compagnie di navigazione.