Former captain of the sunken Costa Concordia cruise ship, Francesco Schettino, has been sentenced to 16 years of prison by an Italian court.
The Grosseto-based court reached the verdict on Wednesday convicting Schettino for multiple manslaughter, causing of shipwreck and abandoning ship while his passengers and crew were still onboard, Reuters reports.
Schettino got 10 years for the deaths of 32 people; five years for causing the shipwreck, one year for abandoning ship, and one month for giving false information to maritime authorities about the gravity of the grounding.
The grounding of the cruise ship in January 2012, carrying 4,252 people at the time, is believed to had been caused by the captain’s recklessness, as the ship came too close to the Giglio island where it got stuck and later collapsed.
In their closing arguments on Tuesday, prosecutors said that the main reason for the death of 32 people on board the cruise ship was the captain’s failure to promptly order an evacuation. The prosecutors sought that Schettino be sentenced to 26 years of prison.
Schettino’s defence lawyers claimed, on the other hand, that the death toll could have been far greater had their defendant ordered prompt evacuation instead of delaying it until the giant ship drifted close to shore.
Before Schettino is sent to serve his sentence, an appeals process needs to be completed, which, according to certain estimates, could take years.
World Maritime News Staff