The captain of Costa Concordia ship disaster, one of the worst in recent times which killed 32 people, was sentenced to 16 years in jail on manslaughter charges.
Francesco Schettino, who has been dubbed ‘Captain Coward’ after he allegedly, fled the ship before the 4,200 were safely ashore.
The 54-year-old was given 10 years for manslaughter, five for causing the shipwreck, one for abandoning ship and another month for giving false information to port authorities.
Schettino’s lawyers launched a last minute appeal yesterday attempting to blame the rest of the crew, but their attempts failed.
His lawyers also tried to argue that Schettino fell into the lifeboat – despite the fact that the video footage shows the disgraced captain calmly standing in line before climbing onboard.
Capt Schettino chocked back tears as he said he too had “died” as a result of the disaster.
“Along with the 32 victims of the shipwreck, I died too,” he told the court.
And he maintained he had been unjustly vilified by the media.
Last year, the court heard Schettino was showing off when he steered the ship too close to shore and hit rocks off the island of Gigilo.
He claimed he was taking the ship close to land for “commercial reasons” in a bid to please his passengers and those ashore.
He rejected the rumours that he was trying to impress his lover, Domnica Cemortan who was at the helm with him.
He had been made the sole scapegoat of the disaster by the authorities and Costa Cruises, the Italian company that owned the Concordia.
“My head was sacrificed to serve economic interests,” he said. “I have spent the last three years in a media meat-grinder,” he said.
The hull of the ship was ripped open when it hit the shoreline.
Costa Cronciere, the company that owned the ship has avoided criminal charges by agreeing to pay a €$1.3 million fine.
It is being sued by survivors and the island for further damages.
Five other employees, including the helmsman, were handed prison sentences ranging from 18 months to two years and 10 months in plea bargains concluded in the investigation.
What do you think of the sentence and Capt Schettino?
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