Italian prosecutors pursue trial for Costa Concordia officers

Divers of the Nucleo Operatori Subacquei Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) conduct a SAR (Search and Rescue) operation that led to the discovery of the body of a woman inside of the ship Costa Concordia on January 21, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a rock off the Tuscan coast and 20 are still missing. The official death toll now stands at 12.  Credit: Getty Images
Divers of the Nucleo Operatori Subacquei Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) conduct a SAR (Search and Rescue) operation that led to the discovery of the body of a woman inside of the ship Costa Concordia on January 21, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a rock off the Tuscan coast and 20 are still missing. The official death toll now stands at 12.
Credit: Getty Images

An Italian judge began hearing a request on Monday to send the former captain of the Costa Concordia and five other ship’s officers to trial over the accident which sank the liner with the loss of 32 lives in January 2012.

Prosecutors are seeking to have the 52-year-old captain, Francesco Schettino, tried on charges including manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.

Schettino, appeared in court in the Tuscan town of Grosseto wearing a grey suit and blue striped tie for the opening of the pre-trial hearings, which are expected to run until April 24.

If convicted, he could face 20 years in jail but his lawyer said the case should not go to trial.

“This was an accident at work. You cannot criminalize a man because he had an accident while working,” Francesco Pepe told reporters during a break in the hearing.

Judge Pietro Molino will also consider whether five other officers should face charges ranging from manslaughter to failure to cooperate with marine authorities.

The luxury liner had just begun a Mediterranean cruise when it came too close to shore, hitting a rock that tore a gash in its hull and causing it to capsize in shallow waters just outside the port of Giglio.

Both Schettino and the ship’s owners Costa Cruises were heavily criticized over both the accident and the chaotic night-time evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew. Costa paid 1 million euros ($1.31 million) to settle potential criminal charges although the payment did not affect civil lawsuits.

The other people who could face trial are bridge officers Ciro Ambrosio and Silvia Coronica, helmsman Jacob Rusli, cabin services manager Manrico Giampedroni and the fleet crisis coordinator, Roberto Ferrarini.

Separately, lawyers for the local government in Giglio said it was seeking at least 80 million euros in damages from Costa.

A lawyer for the company, a unit of the world’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruises, part of Carnival Corp, said it aimed to compensate parties that had suffered.

“We will not try to avoid our responsibilities to compensate those who genuinely suffered loss,” Alessandro Carella said following Monday’s hearing.

Another Costa lawyer, Marco De Luca, said the company should be allowed to seek damages for the loss of the cruise liner, a position opposed by lawyers representing victims of the crash.

“Apart from the victims, Costa is the one that suffered the most damage. We lost a 500 million-euro ($655-million) ship,” De Luca told the court.

Schettino was held up to ridicule after investigators of the accident said he brought the 951-ft. Concordia too close to shore in a maneuver meant to “salute” Giglio island, and then left his ship before the evacuation was complete.

A coastguard’s telephoned order to the captain, “Get back on board, damn it!” became a catch phrase in Italy after the accident prompted a bout of national soul-searching over responsibility and leadership during times of crisis.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.