A judge in Italy has ordered the captain of the Costa Concordia to stand trial in the shipwreck of the cruise liner, which struck a reef off Tuscany last year, killing 32 people.Francesco Schettino will be the only defendant in the trial, which begins on July 9 in the Tuscan town of Grosseto. The indictment was announced on Wednesday.Five other defendants successfully sought plea bargains in their cases, which are now being handled separately. Schettino is charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship while many of the 4,200 passengers and crew were still aboard. He denies the charges.
An Italian judge began hearing a request Monday to send the former captain of the Costa Concordia and five other ship’s officers to trial over the accident which sank the liner with the loss of 32 lives in January 2012. Prosecutors are seeking to have the 52-year-old captain, Francesco Schettino, tried on charges including manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.Both Schettino and the ship’s owners Costa Cruises were heavily criticised over both the accident and the chaotic night-time evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew. Costa paid 1 million euros ($1.31 million) to settle potential criminal charges although the payment did not affect civil lawsuits.
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Costa Cruises, the company whose Concordia cruise liner capsized in January last year with the loss of 32 lives, has made a deal with an Italian court that will limit its criminal liability for a fine of just €1 million. The plea bargain payment, which curtails the cruise operator’s criminal culpability for the disaster, is a set tariff. It means Costa Cruises will not face any more criminal charges and will now aim to participate in the forthcoming trial as an injured party.
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The disaster that was the Costa Concordia, which sank on Jan. 13, 2012 with the death of 32, continues to make news. Today, the Costa Crociere, a division of Miami-based Costa Carnival, owners of the ship, reached an out-of-court settlement.Costa Crociere will pay a $1.3 million fine and thus evade going to court over the tragedy. Had their been a court case it would have been lengthy and costly and may have opened them up to further lawsuits, that though the company maintains fault for the disaster lies only with the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino.
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