Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino Testifies

Costa Concordia after the initial disaster. Photo courtesy Rvongher/Wikimedia Commons
Costa Concordia after the initial disaster. Photo courtesy Rvongher/Wikimedia Commons

Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino took the stand Tuesday to offer his first testimony in his own trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.

Schettino was captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia when it wrecked on Isola del Giglio on the night of January 12, 2012 during a high seas ‘salute’. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 32 people and kicked off the largest maritime salvage operation in history.

In his testimony, Schettino was described as combative, defiant, and contradictory of testimony offered by other of the ship’s officers and even his own previous statements.

The ongoing manslaughter trial kicked off in July 2013 but was immediately postponed due to a lawyer strike in Italy. If found guilty, Schettino could face up to 20 years in prison. A verdict could come early next year.

An in-depth report on Schettino’s testimony can be found at CNN and Italy’s The Local. Also NPR ┬áhas a good round-up of links.