EU court rules against Italian class society RINA over 2006 ferry disaster

Legal actions relating to a ferry disaster in 2006 that saw more than 1,000 people die can extend to suing Italian classification society Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) in the Italian courts, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled.

Passenger/Cargo RoRo Al Salam Boccaccio’98, carrying 1,400 passengers and crew and sailing under the of flag of the Republic of Panama, sank in the Red Sea in February 2006.

RINA certified the ro-ro and had previously contested a claim filed in Genoa, arguing that that it should have immunity from jurisdiction as it was acting on behalf of the flag state, and manifesting the sovereign powers of the delegating state.

However, the Court of Justice of the European Union has found in favour of the claimants.

RINA said only that “the court has expressed its position exclusively on the procedural matter of identifying the competent jurisdiction. Moreover, the court has also ruled that the required verification for the application of the principles of its ruling will have to be carried out by the national judge, who will have to rule on his own jurisdiction. Today’s judgement and any assessment in the merit of the case is completely outside the jurisdiction of the Court of Luxembourg. In this regard, RINA confirms and reiterates the correctness of its work.”