Costa Concordia captain begins appeal against conviction

Former captain of the sunken Costa Concordia cruise ship, Francesco Schettino, has begun his appeal against a 16-year prison sentence ordered by an Italian court in February 2015.

Schettino’s legal team is now seeking to overturn the conviction in an appeal which began on Thursday and is scheduled to run until the end of May.

Furthermore, the prosecution is also appealing against the sentence, claiming that Schettino should have been sentenced to 26 years of prison.

Schettino was found guilty for multiple manslaughter, causing a maritime accident and abandoning ship after the cruise vessel grounded in January 2012 near Giglio island.

He got 10 years for the deaths of 32 people, five years for causing the shipwreck, one year for abandoning ship, and one month for giving false information to maritime authorities about the gravity of the grounding.

Carrying 4,252 people at the time of the incident, Costa Concordia is believed to have run aground due to the captain’s recklessness, as the ship came too close to the island where it got stuck and later collapsed.

Schettino’s defence lawyers earlier claimed that the death toll could have been far greater had their defendant ordered prompt evacuation instead of delaying it until the giant ship drifted close to shore.

The appeals process needs to be completed before Schettino is sent to serve his sentence. The appeal may take at up to three years.

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