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Cruise Ship Line Rejects Accusations in Widow’s Lawsuit

November 29, 1985

ROME (AP) _ The owners of the hijacked Achille Lauro cruise ship, saying it is up to port authorities to provide security, on Thursday rejected charges in a lawsuit by the family of an American killed in the hostage-taking.

The family of Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old, wheelchair-bound New Yorker, filed suit against the ship’s owners and against the Palestine Liberation Organization. The suits, filed Wednesday in state and federal courts in Manhattan, seek $1.5 billion.

In the federal suit, attorney John Fischer charged on behalf of the Klinghoffers that the tour operators and Italian officials had failed to adequately protect the passengers.

Giorgio Saba, a spokesman for the cruise ship owners, said they reject the accusations, ″above all the charge of lacking security systems.″

″We can’t be responsible″ for security measures, Saba said. Such security, including checks of baggage and passengers, he said, belongs to the port authority.

By Thursday evening, Saba said, the owners had not received any legal notice of the lawsuit.

Among the defendants named in the suits were the ship’s owners, Chandris Lines of Italy, and the Port of Genoa.

The ship, which set sail from Genoa, was hijacked Oct. 7 by Palestinian terrorists while on a Mediterranean cruise.

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