UN calls for probe into Costa cruise ship disaster

A top UN official has called for a thorough investigation into the weekend luxury cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy that left six people dead.

Updated: Jan 17, 2012, 11:18 AM IST

New York: A top UN official has called
for a thorough investigation into the weekend luxury cruise
ship disaster off the coast of Italy that left six people dead
and at least 15 missing.

Secretary-General of the UN body International Maritime
Organization (IMO) Koji Sekimizu said the Costa Concordia
accident cannot be taken "lightly" and prompts a re-look at
the safety regulations of large vessels.

"We should seriously consider the lessons to be learnt
and, if necessary, re-examine the regulations on the safety of
large passenger ships," a statement from the UN agency quoted
Sekimizu as saying yesterday.

He added that an investigation "covering all aspects of
this accident" should be carried out, findings of which should
be provided to IMO as soon as possible.

"Causes of this accident are still not yet established,"
he said.

"We must wait for the casualty investigation and should
not pre-judge or speculate at this stage."

Six persons died and at least 15 are still missing after
the Costa Concordia ran aground on Friday near Giglio Island,
conjuring memories of the 1912-Titanic shipwreck.

A total of 4,200 passengers and crew were on board the
vessel. There were a total of 203 Indians on the ship - one
passenger and 202 crew members.

Out of the 202 Indian crew members, 201 have been traced
and are safe. One person is missing.

Sekimizu expressed condolences and sympathy to the
families of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident.
"In the centenary year of the Titanic, we have once
again been reminded of the risks involved in maritime
activities," he said.

The IMO, based in London, is the UN specialized agency
with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping
and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

PTI