The captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that listed and partially sank, Francesco Schettino, was taken off of house arrest but put on a 'town' arrest. An Italian magistrate made the change Friday.
He waits his trial on charges of manslaughter, of causing a shipwreck and of abandoning ship before all passengers were evacuated. His lawyers argued for the lifting of his house arrest back in April but failed at that time.
This time a magistrate in Grosseto, where the case is to be tried, has ruled that Schettino may go into his local town - he lives in Meta di Sorrento, near Naples - and may also communicate with others besides his lawyers and family. A stipulation of his house arrest was that he only communicate with his attorneys and his immediate family.
Costa Concordia tragedy
The Costa Concordia hit a reef Jan. 13 and listed, partially sinking 300 metres from the shore of the island of Giglio in the Tuscan Bay. Of the more than 4,200 passengers and crew, 32 died (to date only 30 bodies have been recovered). It is alleged the fault of the ship sailing so close to shore and hitting the reef is Schettino's. Schettino, who is writing a book about the tragedy, claims he was ordered to maneuver close to shore and denies he is at fault.
An American company, Titan Salvage, with Micoperi of Italy, is working to refloat the ship and tow it away for scrapping. They believe they can have the ship towed by late January. Bo de Visser, the director of a film company, Prorama Films, who have made a time-lapse film of the work around the ship, told Digital Journal this week that the town of Giglio continues on and that the ship is "integrated in daily live".