The former captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the 2012 shipwreck, which killed 32 people off the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio. Francesco Schettino was commanding the vessel, a floating hotel as long as three football pitches, when it hit rocks off the island, tearing a hole in its side.
A court in the town of Grosseto found him guilty of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his passengers in one of the highest-profile shipping disasters in recent years.
However the judges rejected a request that Schettino begin his sentence immediately. They ruled instead that he would not go to prison until the appeals process is completed, which can take years.
The captain wept during his final testimony on Wednesday but did not return to the court to hear the verdict.
Prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence of 26 years for Schettino, who has admitted some responsibility but denied blame for the deaths that occurred during the evacuation. Some lawyers representing the victims said the sentence was inadequate.
Investigators severely criticized Schettino's handling of the disaster, accusing him of bringing the 290 meter-long vessel too close to shore. The subsequent shipwreck set off a chaotic night-time evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew.
Ann Decre, the head of a body representing French survivors, said the verdict could not cover the human cost.
For me it's six months for each death. And the family of the dead people, it's not six months or 17 years for them, it's forever, Decre said outside the theatre that was turned into a makeshift courtroom.
Schettino was also accused of delaying evacuation and abandoning ship before all the 4,229 passengers and crew had been rescued. He said earlier in the trial that he had been thrown off the ship as it tilted.
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Good. He deserved to go to prison.Feb 12th, 2015 - 07:05 am 0
He should be thankful, because I believe the Korean Captain of the ferry was sentenced to 36 years for his cowardice and ineptitude, only narrowly avoiding the death penalty.
No one believed his 'story' about falling into a life boat. He thought of only one thing that night, and that was saving himself, the passengers and his crew could just go to hell for all he cared.
But the company who owned the ship have some responsibility too. There were 38 different nationalities among the crew, and a fair number of them didn't speak Italian, and didn't know what there responsibilities were in an emergency. Some of the crew were either untrained on the use of the lifeboats, or their competency certificates had expired.
These two factors, the Captain: his arrogance, indecision, then decisiveness to save himself and the crew: their lack of understanding and training caused the situation to become fatal for some.
Don't you just love the Italian judges: after 19 months they have handed him a relatively light custodial sentence but he doesn't have to go to jail until his appeal is over!Feb 12th, 2015 - 11:18 am 0
Are they that convinced he is going to win? He ought to have the term doubled.
Great demonstration as to why you should NEVER set foot on any latino ship. Those who died have not had justice.Feb 12th, 2015 - 01:42 pm 0