ROME, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Miami-based Carnival Cruises has blamed passengers aboard the cruise liner that capsized last year off the coast of Italy, killing 32, for damages to the ship.
Carnival is the parent company of Costa Cruises, the operator of the Costa Concordia, which capsized off Tuscany's Giglio Island on Jan. 13, 2011, Italy's ANSA news agency reported Friday.
Passengers, relatives and crew members of the Costa Concordia have filed a lawsuit against Carnival.
"Carnival denies it has any duty to protect passengers from damages while they are on board. We will ask the court to interview all safety and training personnel, and everyone who was in charge of emergency equipment and evacuation," said attorney John Arthur Eaves Jr. "We will also ask for testimony from everyone responsible for what happened at Giglio, and who allowed the captain to deviate from his route".
However, court documents filed by Carnival state: "passengers' negligent or careless behavior were among the causes, if not the only cause, of the alleged injuries and damages."
Hearings in the case are scheduled to begin in July.
Meanwhile, authorities in Italy are looking into how to drain the ship, which has remained in the waters off of Giglio since the shipwreck, of more than 60 million gallons of water, officials said Friday.
"Monitoring the internal waters is the first step towards towing, rotating and floating the ship," Concordia Emergency Observatory President Maria Sargentini said. "The idea is to prevent the internal water from making contact with the outside environment."
The BBC reported that officials hope to have the ship in Italy will be removed by September at the latest.