21 Jul 2013

Shipping company employees found guilty

12:08 pm on 21 July 2013

Four Costa Concordia crew members and a company official have been sentenced to prison by a court in Italy for their part in the 2012 cruise ship disaster.

Thirty two passengers and crew died when the Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the island of Giglio in January last year.

They received prison sentences ranging from 18 months to two years and 10 months after the court agreed to plea bargains on charges of manslaughter and negligence to avoid a lengthy trial.

The defendants included the helmsman and the director of the company's crisis unit.

The BBC reports none are likely to go to prison as sentences of under two years are suspended in Italy.

Captain Francesco Schettino is being tried separately.

He is charged with multiple manslaughter for causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel with thousands still aboard. His case will resume on 23 September.

Captain Schettino has already accepted some degree of responsibility, asking for forgiveness in a television interview last year when he talked of those who died.

The trial is taking place in Grosseto, the city nearest to the site of the wreck.


The brother of a violinist who died in the disaster, said the sentences were too light.

And a dancer whose spine was damaged, said justice had not been done.

Costa Crociere, which is part of the Carnival Corporation, agreed to pay a fine of $US1.3 million fine in April to settle possible criminal charges.

Most passengers have already accepted compensation of about 11,000 euros ($US14,200) each, but remaining groups of survivors are holding out for more.

The Costa Concordia is still partially submerged.