Captain of shipwrecked Costa cruise liner heads to jail

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 13, 2017

The former captain of a Costa Concordia cruise liner was sentenced on Friday to 16 years in prison by Italy's highest court over his role in a 2012 shipwreck that killed 32 people, Reuters reports.

Schettino had been appealing a 2015 sentence which included 10 years for manslaughter, five for causing the accident, one for abandoning the ship before passengers and crew were clear and a month for lying to the authorities afterwards.

Friday's ruling exhausted his appeals process, with the court rejecting his claim that others bore the blame for the disaster.

Free pending the decision, the 56-year-old Schettino is expected to start his jail sentence in the coming hours.

The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, when it hit rocks off Giglio on a chill January night, tearing a hole in its side and eventually keeling over.

Schettino was nicknamed "Captain Coward" by the media, after the coastguard released recordings of him in a lifeboat resisting orders to return to the stricken vessel.

Schettino admitted some responsibility but denied blame for the deaths that occurred during the evacuation and said he was not exclusively to blame.

"I think there have been serious abuses here", Senese said.

During his trial Schettino was accused of showing off to his lover, Moldovan nightclub dancer Domnica Cemortan, when he steered the ship too close to the island as a "salute".

Costa Crociere, the company that owned the ship, sidestepped potential criminal charges in 2013 by agreeing to pay a $1.1 million fine.

The Costa Concordia had more than 4,000 people on board when it was crashed onto a reef near the coastline.

Schettino's defense team contended that he prevented an even worse disaster by steering the ship close to the island as it sank.

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