Grosseto, January 21 - Closing arguments for the prosecution are scheduled Thursday and Friday in the trial of Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia which shipwrecked off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people. In Wednesday's hearings, Captain Leopoldo Manna, director of central operations for Rome's harbourmaster, testified that based on his telephone conversations with Schettino while the shipwreck was underway, Manna told operations center personnel he felt Schettino wasn't the "most suitable" person to speak to regarding the situation, and that he "seemed in shock". A recording was played in court in which Manna uses a vulgar expression to tell another in the operations center that Schettino seemed stupid or "out of it". Grosseto Prosecutor Francesco Verusio in early December said he intends to ask the court to hand down a prison term of more than 20 years for Schettino. Judicial sources said the widely reviled sailor could be sentenced to as much as 22 years in prison if convicted on multiple counts of manslaughter and dereliction of duty. Schettino is the only person on trial after Costa Cruises and a number of crew members and company staff reached plea bargains with prosecutors. In addition to this week's two days of closing arguments, hearings are scheduled for 39 civil attorneys defending passengers of the Concordia who have filed civil suits for damages against Costa Cruises and Schettino.
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