29 passengers still missing from cruise ship

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He noted that 4,200 people managed to evacuate a lilting ship at night within two hours. In addition, the ship’s evacuation procedures had been reviewed last November by an outside firm and port authorities and no faults were found, he said.

Once on land, the survivors complained that Costa was stingy with assistance.

Blake Miller, on board to celebrate his partner’s 50th birthday, said Costa representatives rebuffed his efforts to get some reimbursement so he could buy a change of clothing.

“The Costa representative at our hotel told me, ‘you might want to get a lawyer when you get back to the States,’” to pursue reimbursement, Miller told The Associated Press from his hotel in Rome Sunday night, where he was staying at his own expense.

Only passengers who had paid for special insurance to cover lost belongings would receive compensation to buy replacements, he said they were told.

Costa Crociere didn’t immediately respond to a phone message or an emailed request for a response.

Miller, from Austin, Texas, said survivors were taken to a hotel near Rome’s airport and told Costa would pay for one night’s stay and their plane fare home only “if we pack up and leave the country” on Sunday morning.

Miller, who is director of business travel for Intercontinental hotels, said Costa representatives spoke to passengers about potential refunds or free cruise vouchers. But besides what he paid for the cruise, he said he paid several hundred more euros (dollars) for excursions during port calls and drinks on board.

Foschi, the Costa CEO, said he was certain “we’ll be able to find a material solution that will make them happy.”

Class action suits are a rare novelty in Italy, but Italian consumer advocacy organization Codacons said more than 70 passengers had indicated that they wanted to join a class-action approach to winning compensation from Costa.

“Our aim is to make every passenger obtain an indemnity of at least euro10,000 (more than $12,500) for the material damage suffered and for moral damage, such as the terror suffered, ruined vacations and the grave risks that they ran,” said Codacons president Carlo Rienzi.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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