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France

Queen Mary II appeal trial commences

Video by Aurore Cloe DUPUIS , FRANCE 3

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-03-23

The appeal involving a 2003 accident on the Queen Mary II cruise ship, which lead to 16 deaths, commences Monday. Eight parties who had been prosecuted but later released will appear before a judge for the second time.

The long-stymied appeal in the case regarding a November 2003 accident aboard the cruise ship Queen Mary II opened on Monday in Rennes, France. The accident, which involved the collapse of the liner’s gangway as it docked at Saint-Nazaire in France, killed 16 and injured 29 others. 

The incident was originally brought to the correctional court at Saint-Nazaire in February 2008. The appeal was lodged by the prosecution, the two companies in question (boat contruction company Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Endel, affiliate with the Suez group, which built the gangway), as well as civil parties and victims’ families.

Eight of those who perished were employees of the company contracted to clean the ship. The other mortalities were among two groups of guests of the Chantier de l’Atlantique, who had been invited to have a look at the mammoth ship – which measures 345 metres in length and stands 72 metres high – two months before it was to be put into service.

The boat was on dry land at the time. The gangway – which at the time of the accident was connecting the dock to the liner – collapsed, dragging 45 people into an 18-metre fall

Eight employees of the Chantiers de l’Atlantique and of Endel, prosecuted for “involuntary homicide and injuries,” had initially been released, provoking the ire of the civil parties who called for the appeal.

The correctional tribunal fined the two companies 177,500 euros apiece. They were also required to pay 9.5 million euros in damages plus interest to over 100 civil parties.

The trial is expected to last two weeks; the civil parties are hoping for a judgment before the summer.

Date created : 2009-03-23

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