NEWS » First convictions for the Costa Concordia sinking

First convictions for the Costa Concordia sinking

First convictions for the 32 deaths in the partial sinking of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship wrecked near to the island of Giglio on January the 13th 2012, causing the death of 32 of the 4,229 passengers.

The preliminary hearing judge of Grosseto Pietro Molino has confirmed all five guilty pleas for the co-defendants of captain Francesco Schiettino: Ciro Ambrosio, Silvia Coronica, Jacob Rusli Bin, Roberto Ferrarini and Manrico Giampedroni, all charged with multiple murder and culpable negligence. But the penalties imposed, up to 2 years and 10 months  have been considered by the plaintiffs' lawyers inadequate to the crime committed and compared to penalties for building permit violations.

The five defendants, two officers, the helmsman, the head of cabin service and the head of the crisis team, received prison sentences ranging from 18 months to two years and 10 months in jail for multiple manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck, as the court agreed to negotiate in order to quicken the trial.

The heaviest sentence was given to Roberto Ferranini who was ashore during the disaster and in charge of co-ordinating the cruise ship company's response to the crisis.

None of them are likely to go to prison because sentences of under two years are suspended in Italy, while longer sentences may be appealed or replaced with community service.

All the attention is now on Captain Schettino's trial, considered the most important one being he the main responsible of the tragic event. His case will resume on 23 September. Schettino has so far denied the charges of multiple manslaughter for causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel with thousands still aboard and he said that without his actions many more people would have died but his request for a plea bargain has been rejected by the prosecution.

Capt Francesco Schettino might face a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment if found guilty.

Groups of survivors are asking for more compensation even though most passengers have already accepted compensation of about 11,000 Euros ($14,200: £9,400) each.  

Giulia Lombardo

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