Skip to main content

5 convicted over deadly Costa Concordia cruise liner wreck in Italy

By Barbie Latza Nadeau and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
July 22, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
The refloated wreck of the Costa Concordia is towed to the Italian port of Genoa on Sunday, July 27, to be scrapped, ending the ship's final journey two and a half years after it capsized at a cost of 32 lives. The refloated wreck of the Costa Concordia is towed to the Italian port of Genoa on Sunday, July 27, to be scrapped, ending the ship's final journey two and a half years after it capsized at a cost of 32 lives.
HIDE CAPTION
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
The Costa Concordia disaster
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Lawyer says he will appeal the sentences given to 5 convicted over the cruise disaster
  • The sentences for the 5 defendants range from two years and 10 months to 18 months
  • The trial of co-defendant Capt. Francesco Schettino began this week
  • 32 people died in January 2012 when the cruise liner ran aground and turned on its side

Rome (CNN) -- Five people were convicted of multiple manslaughter and causing personal injury Saturday over the deadly wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the Italian coast last year -- but only two may serve any prison time under the plea bargain accepted by the judge.

The convictions, the first in the case, came after Judge Pietro Molino accepted their plea bargain Saturday morning.

The five were originally co-defendants with the cruise ship's captain, Francesco Schettino. But he is now being tried separately on charges of multiple manslaughter in the wreck and abandoning ship. Court proceedings in his case began this week.

Thirty-two people died when the Costa Concordia, a luxury liner carrying 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members, struck rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, 2012.

Another 150 people were injured in the evacuation of the ship -- 65 of them seriously. The injuries include partial paralysis, amputations and, in one case, blindness.

Under the deal, Roberto Ferrarini, Costa Cruises' emergency manager in Genova, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison and Manrico Giampedroni, hotel director of the Costa Concordia, was given two years and six months.

Incredible drone video of Costa Concordia
Cruise ship passenger relives escape

Ferrarini spoke on the phone and by radio to Schettino the night of the crash between impact and evacuation, and Giampedroni was in communication with Ferrarini on Schettino's behalf that night.

Schettino's first mate Ciro Ambrosio, who was the officer on the bridge and in command of the ship when it went off course, was handed a sentence of one year and 11 months; third officer Silvia Coronica, who was second in command to Ambrosio at the time, received 18 months; and helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin was sentenced to 20 months.

Those three were also convicted of causing a shipwreck, or maritime disaster.

Audio recordings played to the court showed that helmsman Rusli Bin misunderstood Schettino's directions to turn moments before the ship ran aground.

Lawyer: 'We will appeal'

In Italy, sentences less than two years do not generally have to be served in prison except in some cases of homicide, but not in manslaughter. As a result only Ferrarini and Giampedroni aren't likely to serve any time in prison, although they would first have to exhaust the appeals process.

The prosecutor backed their plea bargain requests and all five are on the prosecution witness list for the trial of Schettino in Grosseto, the Tuscan city nearest the site of the wreck.

Read more: Costa Concordia reveals its darkest secrets

But Pierpaolo Lucchese , who is one of the many lawyers who objected to the plea bargains, told CNN he will appeal the sentences.

"It is unthinkable that these lives and the damage to the island are worth two years or less," he said by phone. "We will appeal this to Italy's highest court."

Schettino also asked Wednesday for a plea bargain in exchange for a sentence of three years and five months in prison, but the request has not yet been decided.

However, the prosecutor adamantly opposes it so there is little chance it will be accepted.

The next hearing in Schettino's case is scheduled for September 23, but the judges could rule officially on his plea bargain sooner.

Night of chaos

Schettino faces three criminal charges: involuntary manslaughter for the 32 deaths, causing a maritime disaster and causing personal injury to 150 people who were badly hurt in the accident.

Read more: What cruise lines don't want you to know

According to passengers' accounts, chaos ensued that night as guests rushed to fill lifeboats and escape the shipwreck. Some crew members helped passengers and then jumped overboard, passengers said. Remaining crew members seemed helpless to handle the melee.

The case against Schettino centers on several questions, including why it took him more than an hour to issue an order to abandon ship and why the captain allegedly left the vessel before all passengers had abandoned it.

Given the complicated nature of the case, his trial could drag on for a year or more. The prosecutor presented the court with a list of 357 witnesses Wednesday.

Running in tandem with the criminal prosecution are numerous civil suits against Schettino, which can be heard at the same time. This means more than 250 civil parties are also represented in court.

Read more: Cruise passengers get bill of rights

Meanwhile, the Costa Concordia lies half-submerged on its side on the shore of Giglio Island, rusting and rotting in the waters off Tuscany's coast.

Nearly 500 workers are involved in an operation led by Titan Salvage to remove the wreck while protecting the marine environment.

Titan and Costa Cruises said earlier this month that they hope to be able to rotate the vessel to a vertical position in September. They will then be able to assess whether it can be refloated and towed away.

1 year on, survivors to mark the disaster

Journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. Journalist Livia Borghese contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT