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article imageJudgement Day for captain of Costa Concordia as hearings to begin

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 14, 2012 in World
The day of reckoning comes fast for Francesco Schettino, captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia. Preliminary hearings for his impending trial start Monday; he's charged with manslaughter, contravening laws of the sea and abandoning his ship.
The 3 days of hearings will actually determine if there will be a full trial, but that outcome is expected. These hearings will take place in an auditorium that seats up to 1300 in Grosseto. Schettino will face survivors and family members of the 32 who died - two bodies remain missing - on Jan. 13 when the ship ran aground off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio. The media is barred and police will be stationed at entrances to ensure they do not attend.
Also on hand will be dozens of lawyers and government officials as well as officials from Costa Cruises, the company that owns and operated the Costa Concordia. The judge will be presented with evidence that includes telling audio recordings of that night - at one point Schettino can be heard saying that he "fucked up" - and testimony of experts. Schettino is alleged to have ordered the ship too close to the island in order to 'salute' a retired former-captain.
Refloating the Costa Concordia
The ship remains 300 metres off-shore of Giglio and an American company, Titan Salvage, in conjunction with an Italian company, Micoperi, are working on refloating it and towing it to a port for scrapping. They expect the Costa Concordia to be refloated by sometime this spring.
The 51-year-old Schettino was on house arrest at his home in Meta di Sorrento near Naples for the first five months following the tragedy but in July was given permission to go into the town. He recently launched legal proceedings of his own, suing Costa Cruises for wrongful dismissal, claiming he was not the only one who made mistakes and was not at the helm when the ship hit a reef. He says he wants his job back.
More about Francesco Schettino, The Costa Concordia, costa cruises
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