New Charges For Schettino

Italian cruiseship captain Francesco Schettino is facing more charges in the wake of the Costa Concordia tragedy.

Already likely to be tried for alleged multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship before evacuations were complete, Italian prosecutors have added accusations of abandoning incapacitated passengers and failing to inform maritime authorities.

Officials confirmed that tests showed he was not on drugs at the time of the accident.

First officer Ciro Ambrosio, four more ship’s officers and three Costa Cruises executives are also under investigation.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that the three Costa men were the company’s vice president Manfred Ursprunger, the head of the company’s crisis unit Roberto Ferrarini and fleet superintendent Paolo Parodi.
Pre-trial hearings, including an investigation of the ship’s “black box” recorders, are due to open on 3 March.
A total of 32 people are thought to have died in the 13 January accident.

Prosecution documents filed on Wednesday claim Schettino slowed the ship down while he was having dinner on the night of the accident, then sped up to 16 knots to make up time, despite being in shallow water.
They also say his nautical charts were not appropriate and not detailed enough to reveal obstacles including the rock on which the fatal impact occurred.

The report also points to the large number of people in the bridge area at the time of the accident, including Domnica Cermotan, a friend of Schettino’s. They say this “generated confusion and distraction for the captain.”
It says he failed to perform appropriate manoeuvres to avoid the collision, did not activate procedures to seal the ship, and did not take charge of the crew during the operation. He also took too much time to sound the general alarm and order the evacuation .

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