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article imageCosta Concordia Captain Schettino's trial hears damning evidence

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 19, 2014 in World
The head of the Costa Cruises crisis unit, Roberto Ferrarini, was on the witness stand last week in the trial of Francesco Schettino, the captain of the tragic Costa Concordia. His evidence is the latest to suggest Mr. Schettino has lied about his role.
"Schettino asked me to tell the maritime authorities that the collision was down to a blackout on the ship. But I strongly objected," Mr. Ferrarini told the court. "That was a different false account compared to what he had said before, namely that he had hit a rock which caused the ship to flood. I remember I got quite angry-and I shared that reaction with my colleagues."
Mr. Schettino is charged with causing a shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning his ship in the Jan. 13, 2012 disaster which took the lives of 32 people. It happened when the Costa Concordia was taken too close to shore and hit a reef. The 54-year-old is alleged to have taken the ship that close in order to "salute" a former college on the island.
He could get up to 20 years in prison and an indicator the prosecution is certain of getting a conviction of some kind was their refusal to offer Mr. Schettino plea bargain. Last July four ship's officers and Ferrarini were given plea bargains for their roles, ranging from 18 months to two years and 10 months. It was Ferrarini who got the longer sentence.
There were over 4,200 passengers and crew aboard when the 114,500-tonne ship hit the reef. It now sits 300 metres off the island of Giglio, having been refloated by Titan Salvage, an American company, and Micoperi from Italy. Sixty-five percent of the Costa Concordia was underwater and the companies used a process called parbuckling to get the cruise liner back upright. They plan to tow it away for dismantling in June, or sooner.
Mr. Schettino claims he did not abandon the ship but that he accidentally fell into a lifeboat and once on shore tried to get back to the Costa Concordia. Witnesses have testified that is not the case.
More about Francesco Schettino, Costa Concordia, roberto ferrarini, titan salvage, micoperi
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