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Schettino says he will 'help establish the truth'

Ex-Costa Concordia captain to visit shipwreck

26 February, 14:33
Schettino says he will 'help establish the truth' (ANSA) - Island of Giglio, February 26 - Disgraced ex-captain Francesco Schettino, who was in command of the Costa Concordia when it crashed into rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012 and killed 32 people, on Wednesday said he will visit the carcass of the massive cruiser "to help establish the truth". "I am on Giglio to help establish the truth, putting my face forward, as I have always said," Schettino told reporters on the eve of the visit.

"I am here to help my consultants, who are engaged in necessary checks to understand the causes and dynamics of the failure to function of a number of pieces of equipment," added Schettino.

It will be the first time the former captain has visited the wreckage since Italy's worst postwar maritime disaster.

Schettino is currently on trial in Grosseto, Tuscany on charges of multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty.

Dubbed "captain coward" by the media for allegedly abandoning ship without overseeing the evacuation, Schettino had asked to be allowed to take part in a court-ordered inspection of the emergency generator, scheduled for Thursday.

The emergency generator - key for maintaining critical ship functions in case of electrical outage - failed to work on the night of the wreck, shutting down rudders, elevators, mechanical arms for launching life boats and bilge pumps.

Thursday's inspection will be the second of two new examinations of the stricken cruise liner made by experts representing the prosecution, defence and plaintiffs in the associated civil action following the successful outcome of a parbuckling operation last September.

Following a first inspection on January 23, lawyers acting for Schettino claimed the bridge command centre had been tampered with.

"The scene is no longer as it was, there's been a complete modification of the state of things," said lawyer Domenico Pepe.

His complaints led prosecutors to open a separate probe into possible tampering of the bridge.