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Concordia captain 'risking reputation' in trial

Schettino returns to wreckage for first time

27 February, 16:33
Concordia captain 'risking reputation' in trial (see previous) (ANSA) - Giglio Island, February 27 - Disgraced former captain Francesco Schettino defended his position on Thursday after returning to the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner for the first time after it crashed into rocks and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32. "Some people have plea-bargained by admitting their guilt," he said on arriving back at Giglio port after participating in a court-ordered inspection of the ship's emergency generator and lifts. "Instead I am putting my reputation on the line by standing for trial," he added.

Dubbed 'captain coward' by the media for allegedly abandoning ship without overseeing the evacuation, Schettino is currently on trial in Grosseto in Tuscany on charges of multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty.

"Let's wait before saying that Schettino is guilty or responsible. The others have already admitted their responsibility," said the former captain in reference to five former co-defendants in the trial who secured plea bargains last year. Schettino was besieged by reporters on returning to the port and police had to clear a 'corridor' to allow him to pass.

Of the morning's inspection he said he had gone to "provide a technical contribution" for his consultants".

"I gave precise indications needed for the final outcome of the inspections, which will determine the various responsibilities," he said. Thursday's inspection was 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. Magistrates ordered the inspections after ruling that collection of new evidence was warranted because significant areas of the ship had been made accessible by the operation that turned the lurching, semi-submerged wreck upright.