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Islanders shrug as Italy's 'shipwreck captain' returns

Published on Feb 26, 2014 10:18 PM

GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy (AFP) - Residents of Italy's Giglio Island reacted with mixed emotions on Wednesday to the first return visit by captain Francesco Schettino since a tragedy in which 32 people on his Costa Concordia cruise ship died.

Schettino, who is on trial for manslaughter, arrived on Giglio on Tuesday and was expected to board the stricken ship on Thursday with experts from the court after being granted special dispensation by a judge.

"We are hoping he and his ship will go away soon," said Mr Franco Caverno, 68, a ferry crewman, expressing the frustration of many islanders with ongoing work more than two years after the January 13, 2012 tragedy.

But there was also sympathy for the infamous captain in this seafaring community of just a few hundred souls where some feel he could be a scapegoat for wider blame.

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