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article imageCaptain Schettino returns to the Costa Concordia as part of trial

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 27, 2014 in World
The once captain and his former cruise ship were reunited Thursday when, as part of his trial, Francesco Schettino was taken back abroad the Costa Concordia. It was his first time on the doomed ship since the tragedy that took 32 lives on Jan. 13, 2012.
He arrived in Giglio on Tuesday but was not taken out to the ship for two days. After hearing a safety talk on being on the ship in its present condition (the ship was refloated in September) he was taken out by launch. Before boarding the launch, Schettino openly wept upon first seeing the Costa Concordia.
Media was not permitted on the ship with him but it is only 300 metres from shore and he could easily be seen standing on an upper deck. When he returned to shore he was surrounded by reporters and cameras and was visibly disturbed by all the hoopla. "There is a frenzy that is making me nervous," he told the media. "You have to respect civility."
The 54-year-old Schettino has been charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship and is being tried in Grosseto, Italy. It is alleged he ordered the ship to be taken off-course and near to the island of Giglio in order to "salute" a former colleague who was living on the island. The ship hit a reef which tore a massive hole in its hull.
Schettino has pleaded not-guilty on all charges and insists his actions that night saved lives. Last July his lawyers tried, and failed, to get the prosecution to agree to a lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. If found guilty he could serve up to 20 years. Judge Giovanni Puliatti said Schettino could be taken out to the Costa Concordia for a final visit. It is not clear what the judge hoped would come of the visit.
The ship, righted in a costly and lengthy operation by the American firm, Titan Salvage and Italian firm, Micoperi, will be towed away for dismantling, likely sometime in June. It's not yet known which port in what country will win the contract to take the 114,500 tonnes Costa Concordia apart.
More about francisco schettino, The Costa Concordia, island of giglio
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