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Italian cruise ship captain must remain under house arrest, judge rules

From Livia Borghese, for CNN
February 7, 2012 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner Francesco Schettino faces possible charges of manslaughter.
The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner Francesco Schettino faces possible charges of manslaughter.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Cruise ship captain's attorney calls house arrest ruling "quite positive"
  • An Italian court orders the captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia to remain on house arrest
  • Prosecutors wanted Francesco Schettino sent back to jail
  • Defense lawyers wanted him freed

Rome (CNN) -- The Italian captain of the shipwrecked cruise liner Costa Concordia must remain under house arrest while investigators look into possible charges against him, a court in Florence, Italy, ruled Tuesday, a defense lawyer said.

The court rejected a prosecution motion that Francesco Schettino be sent back to jail as well as a defense motion that he be set free, according to lawyer Alessandro Antichi.

Schettino's other attorney, Salvatore Parascandola, called the ruling "quite positive" as it rejected the prosecution's request to send the captain back to jail.

When informed of the ruling, Schettino "maintained his serenity," Parascandola said.

Attorneys will likely wait until February 9, when the full text of the court's decision is published, to decide whether to appeal, Antichi said.

The captain faces possible charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship in connection with the January 13 incident. The vessel struck rocks and rolled onto its side in the waters off the Italian island of Giglio. At least 16 people died. Authorities say 16 people remain missing from the roughly 4,200 people who were aboard the ship.

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Schettino has said managers of the cruise line instructed him to sail close to the island and has denied allegations that he was sailing too fast. He has said the rock the ship struck was not indicated on his charts of the area.

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