Archivi tag: ship

Seconda udienza preliminare 21.05.2019 – ammesse tutte le parti civili nel processo Norman Atlantic

TGR 21 maggio 2019 – Norman Atlantic, parenti vittime e sopravvissuti ammessi al processo penale

Dear Clients, on Tuesday May 21 2019 the second preliminary hearing of the criminal trial on the Norman Atlantic disaster was held in the Bitonto bunker hearingroom.

Let’s start by saying that ALL our clients were admitted as a civil party, and that this important result was by no means obvious or automatic or simple to obtain.

In fact, in the time from the previous hearing, in which we filed our request for the appearance in court, and this last hearing, the judge had assigned to the defendants an intermediate term for the filing of written memoirs with which to illustrate their exceptions and objections to the request to enter the process by passengers and family members, but also organizations and associations. Well, we can say that surely the lawyers (of Anek above all), have not been spared at all (and it must be said that they could also have done it with greater esteem and respect for the victims, as for example Costa Crociere did in the process on the sinking of the Concordia, which raised formal exceptions only against the cities and associations but not also about the constitution of a civil part of the passengers), but on the contrary they have once again (as in the civil trial) put into play every possible and imaginable procedural question, constraint of national and community legislation and of captious exception to try to prevent at any cost the request of the victims to participate in the criminal trial as parties in all aspects, and not only as spectators. Constituting as a civil party, in fact, allows the injured party from a committed crime, in addition to making a request to the judge for compensation on their damage suffered in relation to such conduct, but also play an important role as a private prosecution alongside the public one, exercised by the public prosecutor’s office, in the common search for truth and justice through the conviction of all those responsible for the disaster. Needless to say, the army of defendants’ lawyers would have preferred to have the trial without our unfriendly presence in the courtroom, and already the first heated controversy took place in the courtroom among lawyers, in a clearly nervousness due to the gravity of the charges, on one side, and the delicacy of the positions and the compensatory values ​​requested on behalf of the clients, on the other.

In their memoirs and subsequent discussion in the hearing room, the defenders of the Greek shipowner, but not only them, tried to enforce the rules of Reg. (EC) 392/2009 in the criminal trial which, as you now by know, provides (art 16, point 3 of the Athens Convention) a two-year preclusional term, which led us prudently to initiate a civil lawsuit in Bari in December 2016, thus claiming, in a very insidious way, that today it would not be possible for us to validly transfer the compensation action from the civil to the criminal trial, due to some alleged forfeiture and other (alleged) defects matured during the civil trial. Nevertheless the defendants’ defenses claimed that the nature and legitimacy of the requests was not adequately demonstrated and documented.

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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

The investigation phase has been closed; Norman Atlantic approaches the criminal trial

norman atlantic chiuse indagini preliminari processo penale
A big step towards the criminal trial that will bring finally light and justice to the Norman Atlantic marittime disaster; great satisfaction from our legal team, not only because we are approaching the trial, but also because the Public Prosecutor has clearly listened to the complaints of our clients, adding to the accused list all the crew members who did not provide the necessary assistance to passengers. There was no loading plan for the heavy trucks, and the fire started to develop from one of the refrigerated trucks, because there were not enough power outlets and the truck drivers kept their engines running to cool the goods. A hypothesis that had already made its way in the days following the fire, as a malpractice prohibited by navigation regulations. And there were other and numerous negligence, both in the risk assessment and during the evacuation, with extreme disorganization and several crew members who left the ship way before the passengers were safe. Now the Bari prosecutor, after 3 years close investigations, adding all the crew members to the accused, mainly for our multiple reports of severe complaints from our clients for abandonment of the ship; 30 people and two companies, Visemar and Anek Lines, now face the criminale trial for the shipwreck of the Norman Atlantic ferry, which took place off the Albanian coast on the night of December 28 2014 after a fire broke out on board that cost the lives of 31 people, including some Syrian migrants, even minors, and the wounding of others 64.

All the subjects under investigation are liable for involuntary cooperation in shipwreck, culpable homicide and multiple culpable injuries. Numerous violations on security and the navigation code are also contested. To the original 18 people already in the file of the p.p’s office of Bari, Ettore Cardinali and Federico Perrone Capano, they added others 12: they are the legal representative of Visemar, society owner of the ferry, Carlo Visentini, the two legal representatives of the Greek Anek Lines, charterer of the Norman Atlantic, in addition to the commander Argilio Giacomazzi and 26 crew members. 6 of them also contend that they had left the ship avoiding to help passengers way before they were safe. A series of negligences emerged in the expert’s report of the Port Authority of Bari, above all on the assessment of the risks and on the organization of the operations of evacuation of the ship, which would have caused the shipwreck and the death of some passengers. About the causes of the shipwreck we already ran trough a probationary incident phase that lasted about two years with numerous accesses aboard the wreck, moored since February 2015 in the port of Bari, and still subjected to seizure.

The experts report about a ineffective firefighting system and unprepared crew. The fire supposedly started from a refrigerated truck running a diesel engine during navigation. Furthermore, according to the accusatory hypothesis, a plan to load the 128 TIR on board (of which about 60 refrigerators) was missing, arranged on the bridges in an approximate manner, without respecting the distance between the vehicles and the availability of elettric power, forcing hauliers to keep the engines running. And both the captain and carrier companies were full aware of this malpractice. We are also waiting to call accusation about the reason why the captain and the shipping companies have decided to prevent the intervention of the Albanian tugs to wait the arrival from Bari of the rescue, forcing the passengers to fear for their life two day on a ship adrift in flames and in the stormy sea.

In the next few weeks we will update all our clients with more detail on the following steps, about the civil case running in Bari, relations between civil and criminal proceedings, and strategies of our team in order to bring justice and compensation to all.

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

Costa Concordia case and Norman Atlantic

Costa Concordia and punitive damages

Costa Concordia and punitive damages

As known, the ruling on appeal in criminal proceedings about the sinking of Costa Concordia ship, has recently upheld the conviction of captain Francesco Schettino to 16 years in prison. Our legal team has participated in this criminal trial since the beginning, representing, as “Giustizia per la Concordia” the interests of circa a hundred passengers and one of the victims, through a civil request  of compensation filed in the criminal case, running in the court of Grosseto in first degree, and in front of the Court of appeal of Florence then.

Our work, however, it was also and above focused towards establishing facts, detection of truth and identification of ALL responsibilities that, over those undeniable, objective and subjective, of the Captain, have prepared the ground to realize the tragedy, and in particular those of the shipping company because of the many failures, the crew unpreparedness, lack of immediate demand of tugboats and criminal management of the emergency, all widely linked to a consolidated savings policy by Costa Crociere, and more generally from all the shipping companies of big ships.

In the first degree instance, our clients, which – differently many others passengers, did not accept the company offer (€ 11.000,00, giving up any further claims and rights), obtained the conviction for a provisional compensation payment by Costa Cruises, variable between 30 thousand and 50 thousand euro for each passenger. In Appeal the payment due has been increased of about 15 thousand euro, raising the provisionals in a range from 45.000,00 to 65.000,00 euro for each passenger. Up to six times the original offer , as accepted by most passengers!

About punitive damages, the case will proceed in Supreme Court, as recently in our country, we faced many openings to this important side effect of a conviction, in presence of gross negligence.

We can not but emphasize that the compensation ruling on the Concordia case, and the positive results obtained in that criminal trial, can ad will reflect also directly on the Norman Atlantic case, as the winding parameters of the damage used by the courts, took into account the existence of psychological harm, in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting from the participation of our clients to a traumatic experience that left indelible marks in their lives.

Knowing in detail the personal story lived on board of the Norman Atlantic by all of our clients that we assist in this other major naval disaster, we can state without a doubt, that their experience on board of the ferry on fire has been extremely stronger than the one lived aboard of the Concordia, both in terms of duration (up to two days) that of the physical and psychological intensity (exposure to extreme conditions, intoxication from fumes, no assistance on board etc.) and finally major financial losses in the event for the loss of all goods and personal effects, destruction of vehicles and transports etc.

It is worth noting that insurers of both vessels are in fact the same subjects, (P&I club, referring to a joint consortium of shipping companies), and then all damages paid in favor of the Concordia passengers are an objective parameter that must be taken into consideration both at the time of further negotiations in the case of Norman Atlantic, and also in the case of a winding-up on the outcome of the criminal trial, in course of establishment in Bari.

In NA criminal proceedings, the Public Prosecutor office of Bari is finalizing the unloading and disposal of all destroyed vehicles by the outside decks of the ship, and experts are concluding their investigations, aimed at identifying the causes of the fire, the propagation mode of management emergency.

So we trust that soon there will be an acceleration in both the criminal proceedings in the possible negotiations in the accident of Norman Atlantic, which remains one of the largest in recent years in the Mediterranean.

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Costa Concordia and punitive damages

Costa Concordia and punitive damages

Come noto la sentenza di appello nel processo penale sul naufragio della Costa Concordia ha recentemente confermato la condanna del comandante Francesco Schettino a 16 anni di reclusione. Il nostro team legale ha partecipato sia dall’inizio a questo processo, rappresentando gli interessi di un centinaio di passeggeri e di una delle vittime, attraverso la costituzione di parte civile e la richiesta di una liquidazione risarcitorio già in sede penale da parte del tribunale di Grosseto prima, e della Corte d’appello di Firenze poi.Il nostro lavoro, però, si è incentrato anche e sopratutto in direzione dell’accertamento dei fatti, dell’accertamento della verità e della individuazione di TUTTE le responsabilità che, oltre quelle innegabili, oggettive e soggettive, del Comandante, hanno preparato il terreno al realizzi della tragedia, ed in particolare quelle della compagnia di navigazione per via dei tanti malfunzionamenti, della impreparazione dell’equipaggio, della mancata richiesta immediata dei rimorchiatori e della criminale gestione della emergenza, il tutto diffusamente legato ad una consolidata politica di risparmio da parte di Costa Crociere, e più in generale delle compagnie di navigazione delle grandi navi.

In primo grado i nostri clienti, che non hanno accettato la offerta di pagamento della società di 11mila euro (accettando la quale in moltissimi altri passeggeri, invece, hanno purtroppo rinunciato ad ogni ulteriore pretesa e diritto) hanno ottenuto la condanna di Costa Crociere al pagamento di una provvisionale sui risarcimenti, variabile tra 30mila e 50 mila euro per ciascun passeggero. In Appello tutti i risarcimenti sono stati aumentati di circa 15 mila euro, portando le provvisionali dai 45mila a 65 mila euro per ciascun passeggero. Fino a sei volte la offerta originaria, accettata dalla maggior parte degli altri passeggeri!

Riguardo ai danni punitivi, proseguiamo in Cassazione, visto che nel nostro paese si sono avuti molti riconoscimenti di questa particolare forma di condanna in presenza di colpa grave, e che le Sezioni Unite sono state recentemente chiamate a pronunciarsi al riguardo.

 Al riguardo non possiamo non evidenziare che la sentenza sulla Concordia ed i positivi risultati ottenuti nel processo penale non può che riflettersi anche sul caso del Norman Atlantic, in quanto i parametri di liquidazione del danno da parte dei giudici, hanno tenuto conto sostanzialmente della sussistenza di un danno psicologico, in termini di disturbo da stress post traumatico (ptsd), derivante dalla partecipazione dei nostri clienti ad una esperienza traumatica che ha lasciato segni indelebili nella loro vita.

Conoscendo nel dettaglio la storia personale vissuta a bordo del Norman Atlantic da parte dei tanti clienti che assistiamo anche in questo disastro navale, siamo in grado di affermare senza ombra di dubbio che la loro esperienza a bordo del traghetto in fiamme è stata estremamente più forte di quella vissuta a bordo della Concordia, sia in termini di durata (fino a due giorni) che di intensità fisica e psicologica (esposizione a condizioni psicofisiche estreme, intossicazione dai fumi, mancata assistenza a bordo etc.) ed infine maggiori danni patrimoniali in caso di perdita di tutti i beni ed effetti personali, distruzione degli automezzi e trasporti etc.

Vale la pena evidenziare che gli assicuratori di entrambe le navi sono di fatto gli stessi, riferibili ad un consorzio solidale tra compagnie di navigazione, e quindi i danni liquidati in favore dei passeggeri della Concordia costituiscono un parametro che dovrà essere preso in considerazione tanto in sede di ulteriori trattative per il caso del Norman Atlantic, che nel caso di una liquidazione ad esito del processo penale in corso di instaurazione a Bari.

 Nel procedimento penale, la Procura di Bari sta tuttora ultimando allo scarico e smaltimento degli automezzi distrutti dai ponti esterni della nave, ed i periti stanno concludendo le loro attività di indagine, volte alla individuazione delle cause dell’incendio, modalità di propagazione di gestione della emergenza.

 Confidiamo quindi che a breve ci sarà una accelerazione sia nel procedimento penale che nelle possibili trattative nell’incidente del Norman Atlantic, che resta uno dei più gravi degli ultimi anni nel mediterraneo.

December 28th – a day to remember

norman atlantic passengers atA year has already passed, and criminal investigations of the Prosecutor of Bari have not yet made completely light on the dynamics of the fire that destroyed the Norman Atlantic ferry, and devastated the lives of over 520 people.

For all, September 11th and November 13th are dates that correspond to the unfair loss of life of so many people for an insane act of violence by terrorists, but for those who have lived the experience on board the Norman Atlantic and those who, as we do, support them, 28 December 2014 corresponds to a day that is stamped with the memory of an equally insane and irresponsible behavior: overloading of trucks and people, failure to follow safety procedures at sea, unpreparedness and cowardice from a part of  the crew, and unjustifiable rescue procedures, imposing the Italian intervention and privileged savings on tugs costs for shipowners.

As we have communicated to all our clients, we have not forgotten our commitment and we continue working on the case to nail all the culprits to their responsibilities, to get the right compensation to victims, and to ensure there will not be another 28 December and another Norman Atlantic.

Merry christmas and a joyful new year from our team.

A bordo del Norman Atlantic – 12 giugno 2015

Avv. Massimiliano Gabrielli a bordo del norman atlantic Friday the 12th of June 2015, together with the experts appointed by the Criminal Court of Bari, consultants of parties in disputes and my colleagues, we did the first official site inspection on the ship Norman Atlantic, burned down December 28, 2014 off the coast of Albania, while on its way from Greece to Italy. The ship is being sealed in custody for over six months, and after being towed from Tirana to Brindisi, and then to Bari, has been moored in the cruise dock of Bari port. Inside, remained the cars and trucks carrying the goods and all the belongings of the passengers, escaped from death, unfortunately not all, on board of the helicopters and with the few ferry’s means of saving. Everything that was not carbonized by the fire, which reached temperatures above 900 Celsius degrees (it melted aluminum wheels of the cars), has rotted under the heat of the sun; in the enclosed decks to reach the main brigde, we walked in total darkness between smelly sewage, fumes of dioxin, deformed walls, insects and rusty irons, in high danger conditions.

Foto 12-06-15 08 48 11Once we reached the higher opened deck, where passengers found refuge and were trapped for nearly three days in extreme weather surroundings (7-8 sea force, with waves of six meters and freezing winds over 50 km/h) and dreadful psycho-physical conditions, caught between the fire beneath them – melting the soles of their shoes, and the jets of icy water sprayed from the tug boats, we realized perfectly that these ships are death traps from which, in the event of a real emergency, it is impossible to escape. To save more than 500 persons on board were present only two lifeboats and some inflatable liferaft, to be reached sliding in a tube along the 25 meters of the ship’s side, adrift and on fire. Too bad that the red hot steel flank and flames melted the tube, and a man remained stuck inside, while on starboard side, the lifeboat and the tube were reduced to ashes even before they could be prepared for disembarking.

ponet esterno norman atlanticBeyond the technical aspects, regarding the investigations about the causes of the fire, on the ship’s malfunction and the behavior of the crew in the early stages of the emergency, the inspection of the ship has been helpful for us lawyers to better understand the tragedy experienced by our clients. Compared to the inspection on board of the Costa Concordia, which offered us, at distance of two years from the wreck, a kind of immediate snapshot of the moment when the passengers left everything and fled through the giant ship that ended up half under water – which is why I defined it as a modern Pompeii, on the upper deck of the Norman Atlantic we had the feeling of endless time of waiting for help, we found objects that passengers have used for the days in which they were trapped on board, the notebook with the drawings used to keep the kids occupied, blankets, a few bottles of water, bags and shoes of women, abandoned since then; everything else, in passenger’s cabins and lower decks, was reduced to ashes or buried inside the rusty carcasses of burned cars and trucks, along with the bodies of other passengers and clandestine still missing.

The shipping company has requested to delete the logo ANEK LINES from the side of the ship, considered embarrassing and damaging to their commercial image. Certainly it would also like to erase the memory of the tragedy and of the dead, but this will not happen. We lawyers of the victims are here for this, and after this strong experience we will know how to make it even better. The trial will bring light on the ferry industry, ships of shame, and on responsibilities for malfunctions, which are to be found also in the too easy system of controls on ships by the relevant authorities.

Avv. Massimiliano Gabrielli


Foto 12-06-15 09 56 20Il 12 giugno con i miei colleghi di Giustizia per la Concordia, Alessandra Guarini e Massimiliano Gabrielli, sono salito a bordo di quello che resta del Norman Atlantic per eseguire coi periti incaricati dal Tribunale e con i consulenti delle parti il primo sopralluogo sulle condizioni della nave. Siamo entrati da un passaggio – il c.d. accesso del pilota – che dalla fiancata sinistra della nave permette di attraversare una parte del ponte 1 per poi accedere ai ponti superiori con una delle scale posizionate all’interno dei ponti carico. Immediatamente entrati siamo letteralmente assaliti da un fetore indescrivibile di fumo, di putredine e di carburante che ti entra nel naso e in gola nonostante le mascherine che tutti noi portiamo.

Foto 12-06-15 10 04 25Il buio all’interno é totale e ci si può muovere solo usando torce elettriche che ognuno di noi porta con se… nonostante le torce il percorso é veramente pericolosissimo perché camminiamo attraverso carcasse contorte di camion completamente bruciati e gli spazi sono assolutamente angusti. Non solo: il pavimento é esso stesso contorto per essere stato deformato dal calore, scivoloso per essere ricoperto di poltiglia di olio e carburante e acqua e comunque disseminato di detriti metallici. Si sentono anche le mosche, tante, grosse, che ti seguono ovunque in quei meandri bui e rumori di ferraglia che si muove, scricchiola, e si intravvede qualche piccolo animale che scappa al nostro arrivo. Il percorso che ci viene indicato dai militari della guardia costiera che ci accompagnano é assolutamente caotico e si ha l’impressione che nemmeno loro sappiano effettivamente quale strada pigliare tanto che alcune delle persone che mi precedevano prenderanno una strada diversa da quella che il militare che avevo più vicino mi indicava.

Foto 12-06-15 09 35 16Finalmente, dopo avere salito due ponti attraverso scale buie e scivolose dove tutto era coperto da viscidume e dal nero fumo che permea quasi del tutto l’interno della Norman, spuntiamo in uno spazio aperto dove vediamo direttamente le condizioni del ponte e delle auto che erano state li posteggiate: il pavimento, come all’interno, é tutto contorto per il calore che si era sviluppato e la vernice che lo ricopriva é bruciata così che é quasi tutto color ruggine. Le auto sono solo degli scheletri e addirittura vediamo che i cerchioni si sono completamente fusi…uno dei consulenti che erano con noi ci dice che l’alluminio fonde a 900 gradi! Questa, dunque, é la temperatura infernale che almeno è stata raggiunta, addirittura all’aperto! Curiosamente – ci dicono che sarebbe dipeso dallo sbandamento che comunque la nave ha subito – le carcasse delle auto si sono ammassate tutte verso il lato dritto della nave. In maniera inspiegabile vediamo due auto – una Porsche e una Volvo – targate Grecia – sul ponte all’aperto, posizionate sul lato sinistro, che si sono salvate senza apparentemente subire alcun danno.

Foto 12-06-15 09 37 02Sempre sul lato a dritta possiamo vedere quello che rimane delle due scialuppe di salvataggio che non sono state calate a mare (l’incendio si era sviluppato da quella parte e evidentemente non fu possibile sbracciarle): non esistono più, sono completamente polverizzate e inspiegabilmente vediamo all’interno di esse ancora intatte le buste delle razioni di emergenza. Fortunatamente riusciamo a salire al ponte quattro e al cinque senza la necessità di dover rientrare nel ventre nero delle nave: dall’esterno per essere tutte le vetrate esplose per il calore si vedono comunque i resti dei saloni interni che risultano completamente carbonizzati. L’odore tremendo che esce da quelle sale fa presumere che lá ci possano ancora essere dei resti umani.

Foto 12-06-15 10 57 28Accediamo alla plancia di comando dove troviamo un ambiente che, salvo la parte centrale adiacente alla safety room che risulta del tutto bruciata (e anche il soffitto li é deformato dal calore), é cristallizzata ai momenti concitati dell’emergenza. Con Alessandra e Massimiliano ci aggiriamo attoniti in quel l’ambiente che ci ricorda drammaticamente il nostro accesso al ponte di comando della Concordia: lo stesso abbandono e lo stesso senso di tragedia che abbiamo respirato anche lá. Carte buttate ovunque, telefoni abbandonati, sediole rovesciate, il caos di chi evidentemente non ha potuto o saputo dominare quello che stava accadendo.

Foto 12-06-15 09 21 59Dal punto di vista tecnico pare di intendere che i periti e i consulenti siano orientati a ritenere che la causa dell’incendio sia da attribuire ad un camion che trasportava derrate alimentari e che non era stato attaccato alla rete elettrica di bordo…il perché é facile da intuire: troppi camion e autobus erano stati stipati contemporaneamente sul Norman e non c’era più abbastanza spazio per poter fare attaccare alla rete di bordo tutti quanti così causandosi il pericolo di scintille dai motori accesi che avrebbero potuto innescare il focolaio di un incendio. Altro punto da verificarsi é perché gli impianti antincendio non lo abbiano spento: i tecnici stanno verificando che i serbatoi del diesel che alimenta il DGE e l’impianto sono praticamente pieni. Ciò segnala che non sarebbero stati utilizzati fino in fondo e quindi rimane da capire se sia stata una scelta cosciente quella di evitare di usare gli impianti o se invece non abbiano funzionato e perché.

A noi rimane quel senso di orrore per quello che abbiamo veduto, mischiato all’umana pietá per quelli, tutti, che hanno avuto la sfortuna di essere a bordo di quella trappola mortale che non solo é stata usata per evidentemente potersi ottenere il massimo profitto possibile (ed eccessivo) dal carico di troppi automezzi stipati all’inverosimile ma che nemmeno ha funzionato nei propri sistemi di emergenza essenziali per carenze tecniche e per la palese impreparazione del personale di bordo che, oltretutto, si é macchiato della colpa peggiore di avere abbandonato al proprio destino le persone a loro affidate. Cercheremo di fare luce su tutte le manchevolezze, le colpe e le impreparazioni che si sono verificate per amore di verità e per sete di Giustizia, Giustizia per il Norman Atlantic. Con ancora nelle narici e in gola l’odore della morte che promana da quel girone infernale che é stato il Norman.

Cesare G. Bulgheroni


avvocati Alessandra Guarini, Cesare Bulgheroni e Massimiliano GabrielliIl sopralluogo è stato difficile e pericoloso. Siamo saliti al buio, passando attraverso le carcasse bruciate dei tanti mezzi stipati a bordo, in spazi angusti e pericolanti. Abbiamo tutti immediatamente compreso che il carico era eccessivo! L’aria era irrespirabile ed insalubre! Ogni parte della nave è deformata dalle fiamme e le superfici sono sconnesse e scivolose. Con i periti e i consulenti abbiamo cercato ogni elemento utile a ricostruire le cause dell’incendio e del perché i dispositivi di sicurezza non abbiano funzionato. Rimane il “mistero” della scatola nera e dei dati mancanti: il disco interno recuperato dalla nave é bruciato mentre quello esterno, contenuto nella capsula galleggiante, é stato oggetto di una attività di lettura nella fase delle indagini, eseguita senza che venisse fatta una copia forense e con conseguente alterazione dell’originale. Ad oggi mancano proprio i files audio, fondamentali per ricostruire quanto accaduto a bordo la notte dell’incendio! Per questo abbiamo chiesto ai periti di verificare ogni circostanza utile ad escludere eventuali manomissioni.

Foto 12-06-15 09 41 52Ho visto molto orrore dentro quella nave completamente divorata dalle fiamme. Ho visto sul ponte più alto le paratie dove per giorni hanno trovato riparo i naufraghi in attesa dei soccorsi. Ho visto gli zaini dei bambini, i blocchi e le matite usati per distrarli dalla tragedia che stavano vivendo. Siamo rimasti stupiti della richiesta della società Anek Line di cancellare il logo ancora visibile sul fianco del relitto per evitare pubblicità negativa, visto che proprio davanti a quel molo attraccano le grandi navi da Crociera! Ma non riusciranno a cancellare la memoria della tragedia e delle vittime!  L’avv. Massimiliano Gabrielli, l’Avv. Cesare Bukgheroni ed io del legal team “Giustizia per il Norman Atlantic” non dimenticheremo i passeggeri e nemmeno ciò che abbiamo visto e respirato tra quelle lamiere contorte. Staremo a fianco delle vittime affinché la verità sia accertata e i colpevoli puniti!

Avv. Alessandra Guarini


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