Thirty-two people died on Jan. 13 when the ship was taken too close to the shore of the Italian island of Giglio and hit a reef and listed over, partially sinking. The hearing
is to determine if they will indict the captain, and others, and to determine what additional charges could be laid, and against whom.
Captain Francesco Schettino: faces charges
The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, is already under house arrest, though he can also go into the town he lives in near Naples, and has been charged on multiple accounts, including causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship before all passengers had been safely removed. His attorney, Bruno Leporatti, reacted to the news by saying that his client welcomes further examination of the black box.
`'Schettino has felt relieved since he had the chance to tell his version of the facts to the judge, but he is also relieved because the audio evidence from the black box confirm his version," Leporatti said. Recently, in TV interviews with Canale TV 5 in Italy and with NBC TV, Schettino apologized but refused to take more than some blame. He blames at least one other officer he does not name and suggested there was a flaw in how the ship operated that night.
Costa Concordia captain: he told "pass by, pass by"
Further, Schettino claims he was told to take the ship in close to salute a retired Captain and that he was not in charge of the bridge when the grounding occurred. However, transcripts taken from conversations on the bridge that night which have already been released suggest otherwise.
On the tapes he can be heard telling an emergency center official at Costa Cruises, the owner and operator of the ship, about how he'd intended to salute Captain Mario Palombo when he hit a reef, which imbedded in the hull of the Costa Concordia. "It was Palombo who said to me 'pass close by, pass close by'," he told Roberto Ferrarini in the emergency center. "I did pass close by and I hit shallow water with the stern. I did it to keep him happy. I'm really devastated."
Schettino also said to Ferrarini: "Roberto, I fucked up!"