Court upholds 16-year sentence for Costa Concordia captain

Schettino found guilty of multiple manslaughter.

The appeal court in Florence has upheld a 16-year jail sentence for the former captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, who was found guilty of manslaughter by a court in Grosseto in February 2015.

Francesco Schettino's 16-year prison term for charges of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, abandoning ship and abandoning those incapable of evacuating the vessel, relate to his role in the fatal shipwreck on 13 January 2012 off the Tuscan island of Giglio, which resulted in the deaths of 32 people.

The prosecution had asked for a 26-year sentence.

The appeal court’s verdict on 31 May upheld the February 2015 16-year jail sentence which blamed Schettino for the 32 fatalities after he brought the 292m-long luxury cruise liner too close to shore, in an apparent act of bravado, running the vessel aground on rocks. The chaotic evacuation that ensued saw Schettino abandon the ship before all his 4,200 passengers and crew members were evacuated, in what is Italy’s worst post-war maritime disaster.

Schettino, who maintains his innocence and has yet to begin his 16-year sentence, did not attend the appeals court on 31 May, remaining at home in Meta di Sorrento near Naples. He has one more chance to appeal the court's decision to Italy's highest court.

The February 2015 ruling also saw Schettino and his former employers Costa Cruises jointly ordered to pay a total of €30,000 each in compensation to many of the ship’s passengers as well as millions of euro in damages to Italian government ministries, Tuscany’s regional government and Giglio.

The 114,500-ton ship wreck was the subject of a complex and unprecedented salvage operation, during which a Spanish diver lost his life, before it was successfully towed away from Giglio and taken to Genoa, in July 2014, where its dismantling process is now almost complete.