Hundreds of witnesses may be called to testify in the Italian trial of the captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia, which resumes today.
The trial, which started on July 9 but was immediately adjourned to today because of a lawyers’ strike, will take place in the Tuscan town of Grosseto, at a 1,000-seat theatre converted into a temporary criminal court.
About 250 plaintiffs will be involved in the trial, including the Italian government and the island of Giglio, where the ship hit rocks on January 13, 2012, killing 32 people.
Concordia captain Francesco Schettino faces charges including manslaughter and abandoning the ship while many of the 4,200 passengers and crew were still on board.
Schettino, who has always denied any wrongdoing, saying his actions saved lives, faces as many as 20 years in jail if convicted, according to prosecutor Francesco Verusio.
Five other defendants, including Schettino’s first officer Ciro Ambrosio and Roberto Ferrarini, head of Costa Crociere’s crisis unit at the time, have sought plea bargains for short prison sentences, and their hearing is due to be held on July 20.
Costa Crociere settled in April a €1 million fine for violations of the Italian administrative responsibility law.
The cruise line, which will remain a plaintiff in the trial, has settled claims with more than 80% of passengers.
Costa Concordia still lies on its side outside Giglio harbor as a removal plan has fallen behind schedule.
About 500 workers and 30 vessels are deployed in the removal operations and are preparing the righting of the ship, before its possible towing to a port before another winter.
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