Only one week before his trial for manslaughter and abandoning his ship is to begin, the captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, has launched a lawsuit. His lawyer said Schettino is suing for wrongful dismissal and wants his job back.
“It is the right of every worker to appeal against his dismissal and Captain Schettino has done no more than exercise that right,” his lawyer, Bruno Leporatti told the media in Italy. “There is nothing to contest or be amazed about, unless we want to say that what the law allows for all citizens doesn’t apply for Francesco Schettino.”
Costa Concordia hits reef near Giglio Island
The Costa Concordia hit a reef Jan. 13 in the waters of Italy's Tuscan Bay 300 meters from the shore of the island of Giglio when Schettino gave the orders to go too close to shore. He did so to 'salute' a retired Costa Cruises captain. Upon hitting the reef, the ship listed and partially sank and 32 people drowned; 30 bodies have been recovered.
In transcripts from the bridge that night, released in September, he is heard telling his crew to sail toward the island to perform the salute. Later, in the midst of the tragedy he calls the Costa Cruises emergency center and tells the officer on duty, Roberto Ferrarini: "Roberto, I fucked up!" He also tells Ferrarini he passed "close by and I hit shallow water with the stern."
After giving the abandon ship order over an hour after hitting the reef and despite pleas from his crew to give it earlier, he calls his wife Fabiola at their home near Naples. "Fabi', my career as a captain is over. We hit a reef, the ship is listing but I performed a great maneuver; everything is under control," he says. "Don't worry, let's forget all this sailing and we can start another job."
Schettino has been under house arrest since, though in the summer he was given permission to go into a nearby town. Preliminary hearings in his trial are scheduled to start on Oct. 15. The 114,500 ton ship remains off the coast of Giglio but is being refloated by Titan Salvage, an American company, who plan to tow it to a port to be scrapped sometime in the spring.