Skip to main content

5 convicted over deadly Costa Concordia cruise liner wreck in Italy

By Barbie Latza Nadeau and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 9:16 PM EDT, Sun July 21, 2013
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
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would undoubtedly be "complicated." Can the U.S. Secretary of State's visit change that?
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
updated 7:08 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT