Cruise captain put under house arrest
ROME - Agence France-Presse
Schettino (R), captain of the capsized cruise ship, was released Jan 17 and is currently under house arrest as of yesterday in his hometown of Meta di Sorrento. AP photoThe captain of the doomed Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia, was put under house arrest for manslaughter as the death toll hit 11 with some 20 people still missing.
Francesco Schettino was placed under house arrest Jan. 17 over the running aground of the enormous vessel off Giglio island in Tuscany, after which he allegedly abandoned ship before all the passengers and crew were saved. A dramatic port authority recording of a telephone exchange as the disaster unfolded late Jan. 13 showed that captain Francesco Schettino ignored an order to return to the vessel after it hit rocks and pitched onto its side.
Schettino, 52, described by the daily Corriere della Serra as “the most hated man in Italy,” is accused of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship before all the passengers were rescued. Schettino arrived at his home accompanied by police yesterday. Schettini denied Jan. 17 he had abandoned ship, as rescue divers found another five bodies in the wreckage, bringing the death toll to 11. About two dozen people are still missing. The Corriere della Sera said Schettino told prosecutors that he was at the helm when disaster struck, but later fell into the sea and could not get back on board the tilting vessel.
‘What are you doing, Captain?’
In the Livorno port authority recording, an increasingly strident port official tells Schettino: “Get back on board now... You must tell us how many people, children, women and passengers are there.”
The official asks: “What are you doing? Are you abandoning the rescue?” Schettino, who was arrested along with his first officer, Ciro Ambrosio, Jan. 15, has yet to be formally charged, while a judge ruled Jan. 17 that he should be placed under house arrest. Italian divers suspended their search after the vessel shifted slightly on its resting place, officials said yesterday.
“Instruments indicated the ship had moved, we are in the process of evaluating if it has found a new resting point to allow us to resume. For the moment we cannot even go near it,” spokesman Luca Cari said.