Shipbuilder convicted over fatal Queen Mary 2 accident
French builder of the giant luxury liner Queen Mary 2 and a subcontractor were each fined 177,500 euros over the collapse of a walkway that killed 16 people
SAINT NAZAIRE, France, Feb 12, 2008 - The French builder of the giant
luxury liner Queen Mary 2 and a subcontractor were each fined 177,500 euros
(255,000 dollars) Monday over the collapse of a walkway that killed 16 people.
Shipbuilder Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Endel, which built the
walkway, were both found guilty of involuntary injury and manslaughter over
the accident, which took place in November 2003.
The Queen Mary 2 -- the world's largest liner at the time of its
construction -- was in dry dock at Saint Nazaire while undergoing pre-delivery
The court found the shipbuilder guilty of a "lack of organisation in the
chain of command" and its subcontractor of failing to follow proper industry
standards in building the walkway.
But it acquitted eight people -- four employees of each company -- who were
facing up to three years' suspended prison on the same charges.
The court's decision sparked some angry reactions in the courtroom.
"Who killed them then? Nobody?" asked Yann Bartolome, who lost his mother
and grandfather in the accident, before storming out of the courtroom.
The 17-storey, 150,000-tonne ocean liner entered service in January 2004
with a maiden voyage from Southampton, England to Fort Lauderdale, Florida,
followed by a series of Caribbean cruises and a trip to Rio de Janeiro.
It was overtaken in 2006 as the world's largest cruise ship by the
Finnish-built Freedom of the Seas, which can carry up to 4,400 passengers to
the Queen Mary's 2,620.