Italian cruise ship captain rebuffs indictment request

'Thousands more would be dead were it not for me' says Schettino

Italian cruise ship captain rebuffs indictment request

Grosseto, February 26 - Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off Tuscany killing 32 people last year, defended his reputation Tuesday following a request to indict him. "It is unacceptable to speak of a crime," said Schettino, whom judges are considering trying for multiple manslaughter. He also faces possible charges of abandoning his post before the evacuation of all 4,200 passengers and crew had been completed and failing to communicate properly with the maritime authorities. Schettino, dubbed 'captain coward' by the Italian media, is writing a book aimed at explaining how he allegedly averted an even greater disaster. "All of the reconstructions have demonstrated that if I didn't maneuver the ship in that way it would have sunk at the stern, pulling down thousands of people with it," he said Tuesday. He has apologised for being "distracted" when his ship capsized on January 13 after hitting a rock while sailing close to Giglio island to 'salute' local residents, stressing he was not at the command of the ship at the time.

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