After a nineteen month long trial, the three judges presiding over the Costa Concordia trial sentenced Captain Francisco Schettino to sixteen (16) years in jail for manslaughter, causing the disaster and abandoning ship. The sentence was broken down as follows; ten (10) years for multiple counts of manslaughter, five (5) years for causing the shipwreck, and one (1) year for abandoning ship. Schettino was also sentenced to one month for making false communications to maritime authorities after the shipwreck.

During closing arguments, breaking down in tears, Schettino demonstrated little concern for the consequences of his recklessness other than feeling sorry for himself, saying that three years ago "I died along with the 32 others." Schettino’s defense lawyer said: "In these three years, Schettino has suffered the same as a 30-year sentence." His legal counsel argued that he was made a scapegoat by Francesco Schettinothe cruise line Carnival-Corporation-owned Costa Cruises.

The prosecutor described Schettino as an "idiot" and a "coward."

Costa paid a relatively small fine of 1.1 million dollars to avoid a criminal trial.

The prosecution sought 26 years in jail for Schettino. The defense requested a maximum of 5 years. The judges essentially split the difference with 16 years. Schettino is entitled to an automatic appeal of the sentence and is likely not to serve time in jail during the appeal.

The stock of Costa’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, is up today.

You can read our first article about the disaster here: Passengers Panic As Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Begins to Sink.

The question which I keep asking myself is what does the brother and parents of Costa crew member Russel Rebello think of the verdict

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Photo Credit: Reuters

  • SYLVIA

    I truly believe he should have received the full sentence. He was the Captain of the Ship and it was “his” responsibility to ‘NOT’ sail the Concordia close to land. He knew better. He was also not paying attention, as he had his “girlfriend” on the bridge with him. He is a “showboat” Captain. And, his getting off a ship that was sinking is absolutely horrible! And not going back on board to be the “Captain” of the ship when ordered to do so by the Italian Coast Guard is inexplicable! People died because of his recklessness and his need for attention from his passengers, and yet, when he needed to pay attention to his passengers, he abandoned them. The 3 Judges should have given him a life sentence so that the families of the individuals who died in the sinking would at least know that their loved ones who died mattered for something. I have been on 43 cruises and just find it awful that this human being allowed all of this to happen. I also feel that he should be in prison while he appeals the verdict. The people who died are certainly in prison to their families.

  • Robamg

    Why is he not in jail. Worst Maritime Disaster in Modern Maritime History. Prosecutor was right “Idiot and a Coward” he needed to add self imposed “Poser and Womanizer” He will never pay any money, nor probably go to jail as the appeals could drag on forever. He should now be in Jail rotting like the dead he left on the ship. A gutless , spineless Captain that should never have attained that rank or honor that it bestows.

  • Debbie

    I completely agree with Sylvia 100%. I think that captain was responsible for the death of the passengers, he was in charge of and therefore should be held fully accountable for his actions. His sentence was not nearly long enough. What is the point of the muster drill if when an accident happens the captain and some crew are going to abandon ship before the passengers?

  • Ian Johnson

    Back in the early 80’s when I first started working on cruise ships, guys like this were very common. They were arrogant and were treated as untouchables. They were like little gods on their ships and were revered like gods by their officers and crew. They acted as though they could do anything they wanted and they could do no wrong. The worst of these guys were always the Greeks and the Italians. The Greeks were especially bad and I had the misfortune of sailing with several of them over the years. They were always full of bravado and most of it stemmed from trying to impress women. Unfortunately these were also the first guys who would run away at the first sign of trouble and were generally the biggest cowards who would just bark orders and wag their fingers at people and then disappear when things got tough. I despised those guys. They made life miserable for everyone. I could write a whole book full of stories about those guys, but they’re not worth my time or energy!

    I see a lot of that cultural throwback in Schettino, a slick arrogant poseur who basically chickened out when the crap hit the fan.

    The Captain later claimed that he only left the vessel to try to coordinate the rescue effort from land . . . Same old S**t!!

    Thankfully that culture has largely been replaced these days and knowing many modern cruise ship Captains, as I do, I believe Schettino was an anomaly, especially in the major cruise line ranks. Lets just hope and pray some lessons were learned here. I know that Carnival Corp learned a very expensive lesson that’s not going away any time soon!