Prosecutors: Delayed Evacuation of Concordia Caused 32 Deaths

The main reason for the death of 32 people on board the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship was the captain’s failure to promptly order an evacuation, prosecutors said in their closing arguments in court Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino is being trialed before a court in Grosseto, Italy for manslaughter and abandoning ship and is facing a 26-year prison sentence.

The grounding of the cruise ship in January 2012, carrying 4,252 people at the time, is believed to had been caused by the captain’s recklessness, as the ship came too close to the Giglio island where it got stuck and later collapsed.

Schettino’s lawyers said that the death toll could have been far greater had their defendant ordered prompt evacuation instead of delaying it until the giant ship drifted close to shore.

His defense team is asking for acquittal for manslaughter and abandoning ship.

A verdict in the trial, launched in July 2013, is expected this week.

World Maritime News Staff