The trial of Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia luxury cruise liner opened Tuesday in the city of Grosseto, but was immediately adjourned until July 17 due to a lawyers’ strike.
According to CBS News, “Thousands of lawyers have walked off the job for an eight-day, nationwide labor strike in Italy.”
The Costa Concordia luxury cruise liner hit rocks off the coast of the Tuscan island of Giglio on January 13, 2012. The Costa Concordia shipwreck left 32 people dead.
Schettino, 52, is charged with multiple counts of manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster, and abandoning ship as the senior officer on board according to CBS News.
Schettino faces up to 20 years in prison and has earned the title of one of Italy’s most hated men for embarrassing a country that has an incredible maritime history.
NBC News reported that “prosecutors contend that on the night of Jan. 13, 2012, Schettino steered the ship too close to the island’s coastline in a publicity stunt for Costa Crociere and accidentally rammed the jagged reef.”
Interest in the trial has been so significant that officials actually decided to hold the proceedings in Grosseto’s main theater, to have enough space for all those who wished to attend, which includes survivors, and relatives of the dead, and not to mention the general public.
Even though Schettino knows that pretty much everyone believes he abandoned ship, he still maintains that he did all he could and that he regrets nothing.
“Everybody believes that I was escaping from the sinking ship,” he told NBC News, saying that he “tried to make an effort to make sure that I was the last one to leave the ship — from the sinking side.”
CBS News reported that Schettino’s lawyers are expected to argue during the trial that he was not the sole person responsible for the disaster.
The Costa Concordia is still laying semi-submerged off the island of Giglio a year and a half after the ship struck the reef.
The trial of Francesco Schettino regarding the Costa Concordia shipwreck is set to resume July 17.