Cruise ship captain says he's not frightened by prospect of prison time

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Associated Press

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 22 at 12:33 PM

ROME (AP) — The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which went aground off the coast of Italy more than a year ago, says he's not frightened by the prospect of going to prison.

Francesco Schettino (frahn-CHEHS'-koh skeh-TEE'-noh) was ordered today to stand trial for manslaughter in the shipwreck that killed 32 people. He's also charged with causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel while many of its 4,200 passengers and crew were still aboard.

Schettino says he could only be frightened by his own conscience -- and he says his conscience "is in place." He says he will face trial "knowing that I will be able to explain calmly what happened."

His lawyer says the judge today rejected a defense request to throw out the charge of abandoning the ship.

A prosecutor says he's satisfied with the judge's decision to order trial only for Schettino, and not for any others. He says Schettino "is the principal person responsible for what happened."

Court-appointed experts have assigned him the blame for the wreck, but they also concluded that the crew and the ship owners committed blunders and safety breaches that contributed to the disaster.

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APPHOTO ROM103: FILE -- In this file photo taken in Grosseto on May 14 2013ormer captain of the Costa Concordia luxury cruise ship Francesco Schettino leaves his house to attend a closed-door hearing. The Italian captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship was ordered on Wednesday to stand trial for manslaughter in the luxury liner's shipwreck off the coast of Tuscany, which killed 32 people. Judge Pietro Molino, at a closed door hearing in the town of Grosseto, agreed to prosecutors' requests that Francesco Schettino should be tried on charges of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel while many of the 4,200 passengers and crew were still aboard. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili) (22 May 2013)

<<APPHOTO ROM103 (05/22/13)>>

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