Schettino Case Could Move to Human Rights Court

Schettino
file photo

By MarEx 2017-05-14 23:14:30

Francesco Schettino lost his final appeal last week and is now in jail. However, Schettino’s defense lawyer Saverio Senese maintains he was “made a scapegoat and is the only one paying a price,” and has said they will consider an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.  

Additionally, former captain and accident investigator, Arne Sagen, of Norway’s Skagerrak Foundation said on Sunday that he will lobby the industry for changes to the International Safety Management code, because he believes Italian authorities  breached the code by allowing Costa Cruises to enter into a plea bargain and pay a $1.1 million fine in exchange for not facing trial.

“They paid themselves free of any management and operational responsibility,” leaving the court no option but to find the captain solely responsible,” Sagen told the Telegraph. 

Schettino said on Friday that he respected the court's decision. He was standing outside Rome’s Rebibbia Prison at the time, ready to begin serving his sentence.

After his first night in jail, he is reported by Il Messaggero as saying that he will start over as ship boy. “I started from the bottom and worked my way up to become captain. Even that January night after the shipwreck when they detained me in a cell, it felt like I was back in that old cabin as a young sailor.” 

I hope he reflects on his errors, says Gregorio De Falco, the Coast Guard official who was famously tried in vain to order Schettino to get back on board the grounded Costa Concordia. Schettino was widely ridiculed for insisting he had not abandoned ship but had slipped on to a lifeboat. The Telegraph reports De Falco saying: “If he had listened to me back then, he wouldn’t be locked in a cell now.”

The Costa Concordia sank in 45 feet of water off the island of Giglio, Italy, with 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew on board. 32 people died.

Schettino had been appealing a 2015 sentence which included 10 years for manslaughter, five for causing the accident, one for abandoning the ship before passengers and crew were clear and a month for lying to the authorities afterwards.

Prosecutors said that Schettino steered too close to the island to show off to a dancer, Domnica Cemortan, who was with him at the helm.

In his defense, Schettino said that the sail-by salute was intended to pay homage to other mariners and to present passengers a nice view. He denied the allegation that he was trying to impress the dancer.

He has indicated that his actions during the tragedy saved the lives of many people, and he accused his helmsman of making an error and failing to follow orders. He also blamed defective generators and flooding of compartments for aggravating the situation. These problems, rather than the grounding itself, cased the deaths, according to his legal case.