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MOSCOW, January 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Some 73 Russian tourists from the wrecked cruise liner Costa Concordia have already flied back to Russia, other 35 Russians will return to the homeland before the end of this week, chief of the international cooperation department of the Federal Tourism Agency Valery Korovkin told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. He noted that January 21 is the deadline, “if the airplanes have more vacant seats than planned tourists will be able to leave Italy even before Saturday.”
“Our citizens are all right, we did not receive any reports that they can experience some difficulties,” Korovkin said. He added that “if tourists also address to the Federal Tourism Agency, they do it only for compensations.” “We will supervise for the Costa Cruises Company to fulfil all obligations assumed for the tourists,” Korovkin pledged.
For his part, chief of the legal department of the Russian Association of Tour Operators Nadezhda Yefremova told Itar-Tass that on January 19 the tour operators and officials of the Federal Tourism Agency will discuss the possibility to file a common lawsuit from all Russian tourists, if the company does not make concrete proposals for compensations to Russian tourists in the near future. Yefremova noted that “the tour operators will take utmost effort so that the full damages will be repaid to Russians.”
The Public Chamber also pledged to control so that all claims of Russian tourists will be satisfied. “If Russian tourists remain dissatisfied with the proposals of the company, members of the Public Chamber will begin to protect their rights,” a member of the working group of the Public Chamber for the protection of the rights of Russian citizens abroad, Dmitry Davydenko, told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. “We already reached an agreement with Italian lawyers, who will be involved in the settlement of disputable issues if necessary,” he said.
Davydenko recalled that on January 16 the Public Chamber opened a hotline for injured people in the Costa Concordia wreckage. Russians can get legal consultations and make their complaints and claims on the phone (8-800-250-68-60). “No many requests came from tourists for damage indemnifying,” he said. “This is linked with the fact that people keep coming home, and probably more requests will be made in a few days,” Davydenko assumed.
The Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia, which wrecked off Italy on January 13, was built in 2006 and cost 450 million euros for Costa Cruises. The last cruise envisaged calls at the ports of several Italian cities, Barcelona and Marseille.
According to preliminary reports, the cruise liner hit an underwater rock and sustained a hole about 70 meters long. The cruiser was carrying 4,234 people, including crewmen. The Federal Tourism Agency reported that the Costa Concordia liner was carrying 108 Russian tourists and three crewmen with Russian citizenship.