Grosseto, Italy – Francesco Schettino was in a theater turned courtroom Monday accompanied by dozens who came out to hear the evidence against the shipwrecked Costa Concordia captain.
With so many bearing a legitimate claim to hear the evidence in the closed-door hearing, the venue was changed to a theater to accommodate those with a personal stake in the case against the 51-year-old captain, reports The Huffington Post. Schettino brought the Costa Concordia cruise line off-course, steering it close to the Tuscan island of Giglio on January 13. The cruise liner ran aground and capsized, killing 32 people. Schettino himself earned international infamy after it was revealed that he himself abandoned ship before everyone else was evacuated.
Though hearings through Wednesday will determine whether or not a trial against Schettino will be ordered, the shamed captain has not been charged. Prosecutors are looking to pin manslaughter on him, but the defense says that Schettino isn’t to blame as much as the cruise line’s owner Costa Crociere SpA bears culpability for the disaster.
One member of Schettino’s defense team confidently said that “responsibilities that aren’t all Schettino’s are beginning to emerge,” accusing the cruise liner of negligence that could lead to another disaster in time, reports the Telegraph. Costa Crociere has denied its own alleged negligence, distancing themselves from Schettino completely.
Last month, a court-appointed team of experts submitted a 270-page report of what exactly went wrong based on an analysis of data recorders, ship communications equipment, testimony, and other evidence. The report places blame on both Schettino and the cruise liner for the accident, and it’s likely that Schettino’s defense will use it to soften the accusations against Schettino if he ends up being charged.
Furthermore, several lawyers representing the Costa Concordia victims and their families are interested in going after the corporation itself moreso that Schettino. An American lawyer representing more that 150 people in the US-based lawsuits against Carnival Corp. said that he is not only pushing for compensation for his clients but improved industry safety practices.
“There is a consistent pattern of lack of discipline … and communication problems,” he told reporters. “This accident will happen again.”
Who do you think is to blame for the Costa Concordia tragedy? The so-called “cowardly” Captain Francesco Schettino or negligence on the part of the cruise liner itself?