Herbert Smith, Irwin Mitchell and Italian firm Giambrone Law are among a host of firms snapping up advisory roles following the grounding of cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Italian coast earlier this month.
It is understood that long-standing adviser Herbert Smith is advising Costa Cruises’ parent company, Carnival Corporation, over future bookings, with matters being handled by the firm’s Hong Kong-based insurance team.
Irwin Mitchell has been instructed by victims of the disaster, led by head of international travel litigation, Clive Garner. More than 100 passengers have already joined a class action and are reportedly seeking to claim more than £100,000 each.
Commenting on the disaster Garner said: “With thousands of passengers and crew on board this huge vessel, their safety should have been the first and only priority. Tragically, it seems that this was not the case and passengers and their families have paid a very heavy price.
“Following formal notification of our clients’ claims to the cruise line we hope to engage them in early negotiations but if this proves unsuccessful, legal proceedings will follow.”
He added that the number of victims coming forward to claim compensation “might rise substantially in the coming weeks.”
Also understood to have landed advisory roles are Clyde & Co, Norton Rose and Ince & Co, with personal injury firm Proner & Proner involved in the class action in the US. Italian firm Giambrone Law has also been instructed by a number of victims affected by the disaster.
The Costa Concordia ran aground after the captain, Francesco Schettino, allegedly sailed too close to the shores of Giglio island, hitting rocks which tore a hole in the ship’s hull. The current death toll stands at 15, with 19 still unaccounted for.
According to business analysts the accident is expected to be the most costly marine loss on record with reports estimating the total insurance loss to fall between $600m and $800m (£385m to £514m).