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

East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Local

Police look for man suspected of threatening Muslim…

Police seek man suspected of calling a teen Muslim girl a "terrorist" and spitting on her multiple times while on a Queens bus.

National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.