Grosseto

'Fortuitous motives' forced Schettino to leave Costa wreck

Defence team points out 'failings in the ship'

'Fortuitous motives' forced Schettino to leave Costa wreck

(ANSA) - Grosseto, October 19 - Fortuitous motives forced Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino to leave the sinking cruiseliner before all passengers had been evacuated, a lawyer representing the disgraced seaman told a preliminary court hearing on Friday. The court is assessing whether to indict Schettino and a number of others on criminal charges related to the cruiser that ran aground after hitting rocks near the Tuscan island of Giglio in January, killing 32. Schettino - dubbed by the media as 'captain coward' - could face trial for abandoning his post before the evacuation of all 4,200 passengers and crew had been completed, as well as for multiple manslaughter and failing to communicate properly with maritime authorities at the time of the accident. Speaking to journalists outside the closed-door court hearing another lawyer acting on behalf of the former captain denied trying to unload responsibility onto other people, saying however that the defence team felt obliged "to point out the failings in the ship". On Thursday the legal representative of the parent company Costa Crociere dismissed as "less serious than others" statements made by Schettino that appeared to put the blame on his subordinates. Meanwhile a new technical report presented by the prosecution reportedly confirmed that Schettino lost control of the ship immediately after hitting rocks and made clear his responsibility in ordering the manouvre that led to the disaster.

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