The expected was made official on Monday as Italian prosecutors in Grossetto, Tuscany, formally requested an indictment on the ill-fated Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino. Schettino was at the helm when the ship capsized on Jan. 13, 2012.
The first indictment is for manslaughter and the same prosecutors also officially asked for an indictment on charges of causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship. He is alleged to have steered the vessel too close to shore where he hit a reef, leaving a 70 meter (230 foot) gash in the hull. Only some 300 meters from shore, she listed over dramatically and 65 percent of her disappeared underwater.
His reason for going too close to the shore of the island of Giglio is so he could perform a 'salute' to a retired colleague who was on the island. Schettino has denied that, though caught on tape saying as much, and he has refused to accept any blame for the disaster. He claims he was ordered to perform the 'salute' by Costa Concordia officials and that the reef was uncharted.
Captain Schettino: Chicken of the Sea
The abandoning his ship charge is due to the disgraced captain, known as the "Chicken of the Sea" in Italy, having left his 114,500 tonnes ship in a lifeboat before all the passengers were evacuated. Despite being told to return to the Costa Concordia by Giglio's harbour master, Schettino did not. He claims that he was bumped and accidentally fell into the lifeboat.
There were over 4,000 passengers and crew onboard the cruise liner; including a 5-year-old girl, 32 died, with two bodies still missing. Schettino has been away from the public view during the past year, for much of the time under house arrest at his home near Naples; that order was lifted late last year. Five other crew members have also been indicted for manslaughter.
The prosecutors claim there is only one cause of the tragedy. "The determining cause of the events of the shipwreck, deaths and injuries," Chief Prosecutor Francesco Verusio said. "is unfortunately, dramatically due to the human factor."
There is no timeline on when the judge will rule on the indictments. Meanwhile, an American company, Titan Salvage, along with an Italian company, Micoperi, are working on refloating the Costa Concordia and towing it to a port for scrapping.