12 Feb 2015

Costa Concordia captain sentenced to 16 years

8:31 am on 12 February 2015

An Italian court has convicted Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino and sentenced him to 16 years in jail for manslaughter.

Francesco Schettino

Francesco Schettino Photo: AFP

Thirty-two people died in January 2012 when the ship was steered too close to the island of Giglio and hit rocks.

Investigators had severely criticised Schettino's handling of the disaster, accusing him of bringing the 290m-long vessel too close to shore when it struck rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

The trial, in the city of Grosseto, heard how the ship was ripped open on the rocks and more than 4,000 passengers and crew were forced into a chaotic evacuation

Schettino was charged with multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship in one of the highest-profile shipping disasters in recent years.

Schettino denied the charges and said he was being made a scapegoat.

However it is far from certain whether he will actually go to jail before the end of Italy's long appeals process, which can take years.

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