Maritime Accidents in Passenger Ships and Derivative LiabilityCosta Concordia and Sewol

  1. J.A. González Almeida
  2. F. Padrón
Journal of maritime research: JMR

ISSN: 1697-4840

Year of publication: 2017

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 67-76

Type: Article

More publications in: Journal of maritime research: JMR


The recent accidents that have occurred in passenger ships at an international level, such as that ofCosta Concordia (2012) in the Mediterranean Sea or Sewol (2014) in waters offSouth Korea, haveshown first of all the responsibility in said claims of the crew and mainly of the ship’s captain on thelives of the passengers. At the level of public opinion, the captain seems to be solely responsible forthese incidents; However, over time we see how the responsibility is also usually addressed to othermembers of the crew, who end up being prosecuted in criminal proceedings. However, it is usualthat the responsibility of other important stakeholders in the sector (shipping, classification society,maritime administration, etc ...) is reduced and even silenced, putting the focus as already mentionedin the malpractice of the crew and mainly of the Captain; in such a way that it is difficult for victimsand relatives to file claims against them when such accidents occur, especially due to the amount ofobstacles they encounter and the difficulty of litigating against companies with significant economicresources, unless they are constituted groups of affected people who sue them together to minimizecosts. The cases mentioned, have had great media coverage and in both, the actions of the captains ofCosta Concordia (Francesco Schettino) and Sewol (Lee Joon-seok), are just two years apart two clearexamples of malpractice by of these officers on passenger ships that have cost the lives of a large numberof people (32 of the Costa Concordia for 293 of the Sewol); but it draws attention as in accidents of thistype, practically they are the only people to those who have been condemned, from the penal point ofview and nevertheless practically the rest of people either of the crew or even of the administration insome cases they have not even been imputed. Through our work, we want to carry out a comparison ofthe responsibilities derived from both accidents, for each one of the involved actors and at the same timecompare the consequences and the measures adopted by the justice in function of the country where theaccident takes place. In addition, it is important to study the role of the rest of the crew in an emergencysituation and how it can affect the development of the same; and how, however, the responsibility forthem may not be entirely clear; highlighting the importance that research in maritime accidents acquiresin these situations