GIGLIO, Italy Oct 14 The captain of the
stricken Costa Concordia cruise ship will attend pre-trial
hearings this week where experts will present analysis of the
events that led to the vessel hitting a rock off the Italian
coast in January and the death of 30 people.
The luxury cruise liner has been sitting half-submerged on
the sea floor near the Tuscan island of Giglio since the
accident 10 months ago. At least 30 people died during a chaotic
nighttime evacuation of 4,200 passengers and crew, and another
two bodies have still not been recovered.
At least three days of hearings, which consider evidence
before a full trial, will be held this week in a theatre in the
city of Grosseto, where captain Francesco Schettino faces
charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Eight other officers and executives of Costa Cruises
, the ship's owner, also are being investigated for their
roles in the accident involving the 114,500-tonne ship.
Schettino has publicly pledged to attend the hearings, which
will include the presentation of data taken from the ship's
"black box" and an analysis of the accident by a panel of
"It's my right to participate," Schettino said last week. He
said he wants to make sure the consultants hired by his defence
interpret the "black box" data correctly.
"It's right that he should appear and give correct
information and tell exactly what happened," said Mariella
Tozzi, a local resident on Giglio island. "Because we still
don't know what really happened."
The Naples-born captain has always acknowledged making
mistakes once it became clear that the Costa Concordia was in
trouble, but has said he was not the only one who should be
blamed for the tragedy.
Schettino did not attend the first hearings, which were held
in March. The court then delayed the hearings by seven months
till this week to give experts time to collect and analyse the
Schettino, who has been held up to ridicule in Italy and
abroad since the Jan. 13 disaster, said earlier this week he was
disputing his dismissal from Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival
The angry order to "Get back on board, damn it!" delivered
by a coast guard officer to Schettino over the telephone after
he had abandoned his ship was printed on T-shirts in Italy.