Italy’s highest court is due to give a verdict in the case of the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that sank in 2012 with the loss of 32 lives.
Who is Francesco Schettino?
Francesco Schettino was dubbed “Captain Coward” by the press for abandoning the stricken vessel during the nighttime disaster.
The 56-year-old was convicted of multiple manslaughter, causing a maritime accident and abandoning ship before all passengers and crew had been evacuated from the vessel.
He was given a 16-year and one month jail term in 2015 in a ruling that was upheld last year by an appeals court.
The violation of the ancient code of the sea which states a captain must be the last man off a sinking ship only accounted for one year of the sentence handed down by a three-judge panel in the town of Grosseto.
Schettino was not in court on Thursday.
What happened during the first trial?
During the first 19-month trial, Schettino was accused of showing off when he steered the ship too close to the island while entertaining a female friend.
The ship had been carrying 4,229 people, including 3,200 tourists.
Schettino’s lawyers had insisted the accident and its deadly consequences were primarily due to organisational failings for which the ship’s owners, Costa Crociere, its Indonesian helmsman and the Italian coastguard should have shared the blame.
They also argued that it was not the collision but rather the chaos that ensued due to the ship losing power that was the direct cause of the deaths.
Schettino could not be blamed for the mechanical failures, they asserted.
Costa Crociere avoided potential criminal charges by accepting partial responsibility and agreeing to pay a one million euro fine.
Five of its employees received non-custodial sentences after concluding plea bargains early in the investigation.