Judge lifts Costa Corcodia captain Francesco Schettino's house arrest

 

An Italian judge lifted the house arrest order for the captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruiser liner today, but said he must remain in his hometown near Naples during the criminal investigation regarding the accident off the Tuscan coast that killed 32 people.

Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the liner while many passengers and crew were still aboard. Judge Valeria Montesarchio issued the written decision about his detention.

The ship's hull was severely gashed when the luxury liner rammed into a reef close to tiny Giglio island the night of 13 January.

Costa Crociere SpA, the cruise company, contends that Schettino steered the vessel too close to shore. Prosecutors suspect Schettino maneuvered the ship perilously close to the tourist and fishing island in a publicity stunt.

Schettino has insisted that the reef wasn't on the ship's navigational charts, even though the rocky reef jutting from the sea is a landmark in the area. In a written memo to his lawyers, the captain defended his handling of the Concordia after the collision, the Italian news agency ANSA reported, citing a document that will be presented on an Italian TV show later tonight.

In the memo, the captain contended that he is no coward and credits what he says was his quick and lucid reaction for preventing what he said would have been greater loss of life, ANSA said.

Schettino has previously said he guided the vessel, which quickly took on water and began listing badly right after impact, toward the island's port to make evacuation easier. In the memo he reportedly claims to have quickly steered the ship away from further harm ''out of pure instinct." The captain also said he wrestled with the decision ''to evacuate or not" the ship before it was near the port and decided against an immediate evacuation.

After the ship listed so badly it was almost on one side, lifeboats on the gashed side could no longer be lowered. Some of the 4,200 passengers and crew members aboard jumped into the sea to swim to the island, while others were rescued by helicopter.

Some witnesses said they saw Schettino on shore while many people were aboard waiting for rescue, but he has claimed he was helping to direct the evacuation, which passengers have described as chaotic and late in getting started.

Experts studying evidence are to report their findings to a court in two weeks.

In the memo, Schettino reportedly says he's ''comforted" by the information recorded on the so-called black-box. Earlier this week, an Italian newspaper reported that that data recorder had not worked properly in the days before the collision and had been scheduled for repair on 14 January, when the Concordia was supposed to have docked at an Italian port farther north.

What role a malfunctioning data recorder might have played in tragedy is unclear.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor