Sentence for Costa Concordia captain upheld over 2012 shipwreck that killed 32 people

 Costa Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino in court in 2015.
Costa Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino in court in 2015.PHOTO: AFP
The cruise liner Costa Concordia on Jan 17, 2012.
The cruise liner Costa Concordia on Jan 17, 2012.PHOTO: AFP

FLORENCE, Italy (AFP) – Florence’s appeals court on Tuesday upheld the 16-year jail term for Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that sank off Italy in 2012 leaving 32 people dead.

Schettino was not in court when the verdict was read out by presiding judge Grazia D’Onofrio shortly after 8.30pm (2.30am on Thursday, Singapore time).

He will not be jailed immediately pending a possible further appeal.

Schettino was sentenced in February 2015 to 16 years and one month in prison after a judge ruled that his recklessness was to blame for the fate of the giant ship, which struck underwater rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

He was convicted of multiple manslaughter, causing a maritime accident and abandoning ship before all passengers and crew had been evacuated, earning him the nickname “Captain Coward” in the press.

The ship had been carrying more than 4,200 people, including 3,200 tourists. The bodies of two of the victims have never been found.

Schettino’s lawyers had insisted the accident and its deadly consequences were primarily due to organisational failings for which the ship’s owner, Costa Crociere, its Indonesian helmsman and the Italian coastguard should have shared the blame.

Costa Crociere avoided potential criminal charges by accepting partial responsibility and agreeing to pay a one million euro (S$1.5 million) fine.