February 6, 2015 11:52 AM EST – Defense closing arguments have begun in the trial of the Costa Concordia captain accused of manslaughter and abandoning passengers after his ship crashed in January 2012.
al entered their third and final day on Monday, when prosecutor Stefano Pizza will request sentencing for Francesco Schettino, captain of the vessel that shipwrecked in January 2012, killing 32 people. In his closing arguments on Monday morning, Pizza said legal doctrine defines an “able idiot” as someone who “thinks he’s capable but provokes a dangerous situation and causes damage” and an “incautious optimist” as someone who “optimistically overestimates his abilities” and that Schettino embodies both definitions, and he could be classified as an “incautious idiot”. Pizza recited a laundry list of charges against Schettino, stating that the captain’s actions constituted “monstrously gross negligence”.
Read more Concordia prosecutor to request Schettino’s sentencing on Gazetta Del Sud
The 32 victims of the Costa Concordia shipwreck didn’t die because the luxury cruise liner crashed into a reef, but due to “chaos, delays, errors” under the captain’s watch, a prosecutor contended in final arguments Friday.
Francesco Schettino, who captained the Costa Crociere vessel when it capsized in 2012 near tiny Giglio island off the Tuscan coast, is being tried for manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the Concordia while many passengers and crew members were still aboard.
Wednesday testimony claims Schettino was “in shock”
Closing arguments for the prosecution are scheduled Thursday and Friday in the trial of Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia which shipwrecked off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people. In Wednesday’s hearings, Captain Leopoldo Manna, director of central operations for Rome’s harbourmaster, testified that based on his telephone conversations with Schettino while the shipwreck was underway, Manna told operations center personnel he felt Schettino wasn’t the “most suitable” person to speak to regarding the situation, and that he “seemed in shock”. A recording was played in court in which Manna uses a vulgar expression to tell another in the operations center that Schettino seemed stupid or “out of it”.
A cargo ship abandoned by its crew with 359 Syrian refugees on board was towed ashore in Italy on Saturday in the second such rescue this week, prompting calls for stronger European Union action in the face of new tactics by human traffickers.
The Ezadeen, a Sierra-Leone-flagged vessel that had set sail from Turkey, docked in the southern Italian port of Corigliano Calabro. The passengers, including 62 minors, were in good condition and were being transferred to immigration centres and foster homes across Italy, coastguard and police officials said.
The decrepit vessel, licensed only to carry livestock, was strewn with steel containers, broken chairs, piles of garbage bags, empty gasoline tanks and scattered clothes and belongings.
On Wednesday, about 800 mostly Syrian migrants were rescued from another ‘ghost ship’, the Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M. It too was abandoned at sea, highlighting a new ploy by traffickers who make money by promising refugees a transfer to Europe.
Read More Italy’s second ‘ghost ship’
Former captain Francesco Schettino raised his voice and blamed officers for being “at fault” in the January 2012 Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster during his trial on Friday.
“It was the fault of the bridge team,” Schettino said to Alessandra Guarini, lawyer for one of the passengers, during questioning.
Schettino is the only person on trial after Costa Cruises and a number of crew members and company staff reached plea bargains with prosecutors in the sinking that killed 32 people.
Read more: Concordia captain blames bridge team Life in Italy
Costa Concordia captain faces questions
A damning new video shown Wednesday at the trial of Francesco Schettino, captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner, appears to show him boarding a lifeboat with passengers still clearly on board the doomed ship.
It was presented to the court as Schettino took the stand for a second day.
Schettino’s lawyer, Domenico Pepe, asked the court not to admit the fuzzy videotape that appeared to show the captain getting onto a lifeboat from the ship’s bow wearing the same jacket and tie he had on at dinner before the ship crashed.
Read more: Costa Concordia captain faces questions
Francesco Schettino, captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, took the stand for the first time Tuesday, combative and contradicting the testimony of not just his first captain but also what he has said in the past about the deadly shipwreck.
Schettino — who is charged with manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster and abandoning ship with passengers still on board — denies wrongdoing. He faces up to 23 years in prison if convicted.
He remained defiant even while painting a picture of confusion on board the ship as the disaster unfolded, pointing the finger at others for the chaotic evacuation of the ship’s passengers.
Read More: Costa Concordia captain combative, defiant as he testifies at trial
Passenger Hurt in New York Seastreak Crash to Get $5M
Three passengers injured when a commuter ferry crashed into a lower Manhattan pier in 2013 have recently settled lawsuits for a total of nearly $6 million, including $5 million for a passenger who suffered brain injuries.
The settlements were signed by U.S. Magistrate Mark Falk this month in the ongoing litigation against Seastreak LLC, owner of the vessel.
More than 80 people were injured on Jan. 9, 2013 when the Wall Street-bound Seastreak crashed into a dock near the South Street Seaport, sending people tumbling down stairs and into walls.
Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp., was hit with huge lawsuits by officials from Tuscany and the island of Giglio, who allege that the January 2012 disaster contributed to a major decline in area visitors.
Italian officials are suing the owner of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship for an eye-watering $275 million — over claims the liner disaster destroyed local tourism.
Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp., was hit with the mega-lawsuits by officials from Tuscany and the island of Giglio on Monday, according to reports.
They allege that the January 2012 disaster contributed to a major decline in visitors to the area, which they say will take “years” of investment to rectify.