By Phil Davies
Judges in the city of Grosseto agreed to a request by lawyers for Francesco Schettino, who demanded that he takes part in a survey of the ship.
The request came as a team of lawyers and experts were due to inspect an emergency power unit on the 11th deck of the Concordia, which allegedly did not work on the night of the shipwreck in January 2012.
It will be his first time back on the ship since it hit rocks off the island of Giglio in January 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people.
The visit is part of an investigation at Schettino’s trial, where he is accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship. He denies the charges. If found guilty he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Schettino is due to board along with inspectors, but will not be allowed to interfere with their investigation. He would be allowed onto the ship “as a defendant, not a consultant”, said Judge Giovanni Puliatti.
The captain has been accused of leaving the vessel before all 4,229 people on board had been evacuated. But he denies abandoning the ship after it hit a reef near the island.
He maintains he managed to steer the stricken vessel closer to shore so it did not sink in deep water where hundreds might have drowned.
An Italian court convicted five others of manslaughter last July.
They had all successfully entered plea bargains, while Schettino’s request for a plea bargain was denied by the prosecution.
Concordia was set upright in an unprecedented salvage operation known as parbuckling in September.