Costa Concordia: 5 Convicted, Captain Under Pressure In Manslaughter Trial

The first five Costa Concordia convictions have been reached on Saturday morning. The Italian court accepted the plea deal from five Costa Crociere workers who received short jail sentences that ranged from 18 months to two years 10 months in exchange for pleading guilty to the manslaughter and negligence charges.

Under Italian law, it’s probable that three of the five may never be jailed, and the other two may also escape jail.

As I reported Wednesday, Captain Francesco Schettino is currently involved in a separate trial in Grosseto, Italy for the accident and botched evacuation that left 32 people dead and a $570 million cruising vessel in ruins. He is charged with manslaughter and abandoning his ship before all 4,200 on the super vessel were safely evacuated.

He faces a possible 20-year sentence. He too has asked for a plea deal, but the court hasn’t yet reached a decision in his case. Euronews has said that his trial will resume in September.

An NPR report listed all five officers who participated in the Costa Concordia conviction plea deal.

Officers Ciro Ambrosio, Jacob Rusli Bin, and Siliva Coronica were all sentenced to less than two years — which means that the jail time was automatically suspended under Italian law.

Crisis coordinator Roberto Ferrarini was sentenced to two years 10 months, and cabin services manager Manrico Giampedroni got two years six months.

According to The Telegraph, those longer sentences will also be appealed and could be replaced with community service.

Despite some reported anger from victims at the short sentences, the prosecutors are apparently following a strategy of focusing the blame on Schettino.

The Costa Concordia, which is still wrecked offshore Tuscany, is also the scene of a last-ditch salvage effort to recover what they can before the pressure of ocean water completely crushes the vessel.

What do you think of the Costa Concordia convictions under the plea deal?

[Costa Concordia pre-accident photo credit: turismobahia via photopin cc]