Captain of Costa Concordia Sentenced to  16 Years for Manslaughter

Captain Francesco Schettino, the man who was at the helm of the Costa Concordia when the cruise ship hit a reef off of the coast of Italy in 2012, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to a little over 16 years in prison.

The trial lasted 19 months and Schettino was found guilty of multiple counts of manslaughter after 32 passengers and crew members that were on the Costa Concordia died as a result of his actions.

He was also convicted of abandoning ship and causing a shipwreck.  He left the ship before many of the over 4,000 passengers and crew members were still onboard.

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 26 years and 3 months and called him a “reckless idiot”. Schettino was not present in the court when Judge Giovanni Puliatti read the verdict in the Grosseto Theater.  He previously told the court that he was being “offered for sacrifice” for the sake of the economic interests of his employer.

– See more at: http://cruisefever.net/0211-captain-of-costa-concordia-sentenced-16-years-for-manslaughter/#sthash.MkVk8BBG.dpuf

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Concordia captain to return to wreck

By Phil Davies 

Concordia captain to return to wreckThe captain of the doomed Costa Concordia is due to return to the wreck today (Thursday).

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.

‘I messed up’, Concordia captain said after hitting rocks

‘I messed up’, Concordia captain said after hitting rocks

By Phil Davies

'I messed up', Concordia captain said after hitting rocksA detailed version of events on the bridge of Costa Concordia in the minutes leading up to the ship crashing into rocks has been relayed to a court in Italy.

Captain Francesco Schettino ordered his navigator to change route from its designated course so that the ship passed within just a few hundred yards of Giglio, the court heard yesterday.

Schettino is on trial over the disaster in which 32 people died.

“Let’s get really close to Giglio, I love doing these salutes. Let’s go and do this Giglio s***,” the captain told his crew, as the ship prepared to set out from Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, on the night of January 13, 2012, at the start of a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Audio recordings from the bridge, which were played in court, showed that Schettino made the remarks at 6.27pm that evening.

Schettino spoke in Neapolitan dialect, rather than standard Italian, when he told the ship’s navigator Simone Canessa to change the route.

The officer told the court in Grosseto, Tuscany, where Schettino is on trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship, that he was not explicitly told the reason for the change of course, according to the report from the trial.

“I wasn’t directly given any information but I heard that it was to perform a salute, for the benefit of members of the crew who came from Giglio,” he said.

Schettino reportedly performed the sail-past to impress Antonello Tievoli, the ship’s maitre’d, who was from Giglio, and Mario Palombo, a sea captain and friend who was on the island that night and with whom he was in contact by telephone.

The court also heard an audio recording of the moments after the ship crashed into the rocks and the captain realised the enormity of what had happened.

As water flooded into the engine rooms and a power black-out sparked fear among the passengers, Schettino called Roberto Ferrarini, the head of the crisis unit of Costa Cruises.

“Roberto, I took the ship past Giglio. Palombo was telling me ‘sail close, sail close’. I hit the rocks. I’m destroyed, I’m dead, don’t say anything to me.”

Another witness, first mate Giovanni Iaccarino, said that the captain put his head in his hands and told the officers on the bridge: “I messed up”.

Canessa also claimed Schettino showed chronic indecision as he contemplated the loss of his ship.

“I was saying to him very insistently that he needed to do something, to give the general emergency signal, but he was telling us to wait,” he told the court.

“At first he gave the impression of having everything under control and initially us officers were less insistent, but then we started shouting and screaming at him to give the emergency signal.”

It was only much later that the captain gave the order to abandon ship.

He also made a point of going below to change out of his captain’s uniform and into civilian clothes, allegedly in an effort to blend in with passengers when he abandoned ship before the evacuation was completed.

“I saw him later and he was wearing a blue jacket,” said Canessa. “He had changed out of his uniform.”

As panic broke out on the bridge after the collision, Schettino turned to Domnica Cemortan, a Moldovan ship’s dancer whom he had had dinner with that night, and told her “You will be saved”, according to Canessa.

Cemortan was not the only non-officer on the bridge. “There were other girls, hostesses,” Canessa said.