Costa Concordia captain to blame for wreck deaths, but crew and owner also at fault, experts say

ROME — Court-appointed experts have pointed the finger of blame primarily at the captain of a cruise ship that ran aground off Italy, but also faulted the crew and ship owner for a series of blunders, delays and security breaches that contributed to the disaster and the deaths of 32 people.

The Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized Jan. 13 off the Tuscan island of Giglio after Capt. Francesco Schettino took it off course in a stunt. He is accused of causing the shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning the ship before all passengers were evacuated.

Eight other people are also under investigation, and the court in Grosseto ordered the expert investigation to help it determine which if any should be put on trial. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

In a 270-page analysis, the experts said a series of problems hobbled the response to Schettino’s manoeuvre and contributed to the botched evacuation: Crew members bungled directions, didn’t understand orders and weren’t trained or certified in security and emergency drills.