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
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.