Italian prosecutors called Monday for Francesco Schettino, the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise liner, to serve 26 years and three months in jail for the 2012 shipwreck which left 32 people dead.
“This is not an exaggerated sentence,” prosecutor Maria Navarro told the court in Grosseto, Tuscany, saying the man dubbed “Captain Coward” by the media was guilty of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all the passengers were safe.
“Francesco Schettino has lied to everyone, to the press, to the court, to the maritime authorities. He has never accepted responsibility (and) no elements have emerged in his favour” since his trial began in July 2013, she said.
Schettino, 54, is accused of delaying the order to abandon ship after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, during a risky drive-by “salute” manoeuvre, and then abandoning ship before many of the passengers had been rescued.
The ship, carrying 4,229 people from more than 70 countries, listed and turned onto its side, making it impossible to launch many of the lifeboats once the alarm had been sounded.
Navarro called for Schettino to serve 14 years behind bars for multiple manslaughter, nine years for causing a shipwreck, three years for abandoning ship and three months for failing to contact the authorities when the accident happened.
“God have pity on Schettino, because we cannot have any,” prosecutor Stefano Pizza said in his summing up speech.
AFP / Giuseppe Cacace
The wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise liner was towed to the Italian port of Genoa in July 2014
The ex-captain denies the charges and said he delayed calling for help because he knew the wind would guide the ship towards land, and was forced to abandon ship after he fell off when it tilted, and was thrown into a lifeboat which carried him ashore.
A verdict is expected by the middle of February.