Captain of Costa Concordia may face trial alone
ROME, May 14 (RAPSI, Natalia Shmakova) - Francesco Schettino, former captain of the Costa Concordia which sank in January 2012, may be the only person facing trial, with five of the other suspects in the cruise ship disaster making plea bargains, the Italian media wrote on Tuesday.
The five are the ship's first officer Ciro Ambrosino, third officer Silvia Coronica, Indonesian helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin, and cabin service director Manrico Giampedroni, as well as Roberto Ferrarini, the head of ship owner Costa Crociere's crisis unit.
Costa Crociere, the biggest cruise ship operator in Europe, has accepted limited responsibility as the employer of all the suspects and was ordered to pay a fine of EUR 1 million ($1.3 million) in April.
The Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Giglio near Toscana in Italy on the evening of January 13 last year, resulting in the death of 32 people and injuring hundreds of the 4,200 passengers and crew on board. Two people are still reported as missing.
The prosecutors office of Grosseto, the town closest to the site of the tragedy, charged Schettino with involuntary manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship before all the passengers were evacuated.
The pre-hearing of the case began in April 2013 and resumed on Tuesday, when the lawyers of the six men charged asked for plea bargains. The Grosseto prosecutors accepted five pleas but rejected Schettinos. His lawyers asked for three years and four months in prison, while the Italian media report that if proved guilty he may be sentenced to 15 years.
According to the plea bargain requests filed on Tuesday, the sentences will range from a year and six months to two years and 10 months for the company executive Ferrarini.
The decision on the plea bargain requests will be taken by a pre-trial judge, Asca agency writes. If the Grosseto prosecutors arguments are accepted, Schettino could be the only one to face trial. The next hearing is set for May 16.