Costa Concordia captain gets 16 years in prison

Captain Francesco Schettino found guilty of manslaughter
The captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison, the BBC reports. Captain Francesco Schettino was at the helm when the ship hit rocks and sank in 2012, killing 32 people.
Earlier this week, prosecutors called for the captain to be imprisoned for 26 years, comparing the tragedy to the sinking of the Titanic. They called Schettino a “reckless idiot.”
Out of 4,000 passengers and crew, 32 were killed when the ship struck rocks and capsized in January 2012. Schettino, 54, had allegedly ordered a sail past of the island of Giglio to impress both crew and passengers. A 19-month trial in Tuscany began in July 2013. The ship was finally removed from the site of the sinking last summer and is now being scrapped.
“There is a tsunami of evidence against Francesco Schettino but he has admitted to nothing,” Prosecutor Stefano Pizza said. “It was a Titanic affair that merits adequate punishment. It would be easier for a lawyer to fly than to defend Schettino.”
Prosecutors rejected the defence’s argument that the Captain had been unfairly made a scapegoat and other officers should have been tried as well as him. “It takes nerve to continue to insist that the fault lies with others,” Pizza said.
Schettino denied all charges. In an emotional final appeal on the last day of the trial, he sobbed as he likened the last three years to being in a “media meat grinder”. “All the responsibility has been loaded on to me with no respect for the truth or for the memory of the victims,” he said.
TTG Digital
[pictured: Costa Concordia salvage operation; photo by Soerfm, Creative Commons licence]