Judges granted Francesco Schettino's lawyers their request to examine the Costa Concordia as part of their defence, making it likely the trial, which began in July, will continue for many more months.
Now that the Costa Concordia is upright once again the lawyers for Schettino want the bridge and engine room examined as part of their claim that their client was not the only one responsible for the tragedy which took 32 lives. They blame the helmsman for contributing to the tragedy for not executing an order and the panel of three judges in Grosseto, Italy agreed to allow them to detail their claim by going onboard.
That helmsman, along with 3 other ship's officers and an employee of Costa Cruises, the owner of the ship, who worked in the company's emergency center, were all given plea bargains earlier this year and sentences in the range of two years.
Schettino, if found guilty of the charges again him, manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship, could get up to 20 years in jail. His lawyers attempted to get him a plea bargain but were turned down.
The ship went down on Jan. 13, 2012, just 300 metres off of the shore of the island of Giglio in the Tuscan Sea. Schettino is alleged to have ordered the ship in too close to the island in order to 'salute' a former colleague.
A giant reef ripped into the Costa Concordia's hull and the ship listed over with 65 percent winding up underwater. A special marine rescue operation performed by Titan Salvage of America and Micoperi of Italy called parbuckling has righted the ship. It is now upright sitting on a shelf-designed to keep it afloat.
Further work will be done in the next months and the plan is to tow it to the port of Piombino in the Spring for scrapping.