Ex-captain of Concordia cruise ship Schettino indicted

Charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship

Ex-captain of Concordia cruise ship Schettino indicted

Grosseto, May 22 - A preliminary hearings judge in the Tuscan city of Grosseto on Wednesday sent Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, to trial over the 2012 cruise ship disaster that cost 32 people their lives. Schettino will be tried for dereliction of duty and multiple manslaughter starting July 9. The former cruise ship captain was manning the Costa Concordia when it hit a rock on January 13, 2012, before partially capsizing off the island of Giglio. Last Friday, Schettino told a court that his actions saved the lives of more than 4,000 people and requested a new investigation. "My years of experience surely led to the evacuation of over 4,000 people. Thus is wasn't the hand of the good Lord or a miracle," said Francesco Schettino. Dubbed "Captain Coward" by the media for allegedly abandoning ship without overseeing the evacuation, Schettino claims his image and actions have been distorted by investigators and called on judges for a new probe. Prosecutors are reportedly seeking a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for Schettino, who is expected to appeal if found guilty. Schettino's defense lawyers claim he is a "scapegoat" who "suffered a work accident". The Costa Concordia accident is considered Italy's worst maritime disaster since the Second World War.

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