5. New Charges for Costa Concordia's Captain, Officials InvestigatedFebruary 24, 2012 By: Susan Young
Captain Francesco Schettino is in more hot water with Italian prosecutors. They've added several new counts to the charges filed against him in the aftermath of Costa Concordia's accident in Giglio, Italy on Jan. 13.
The captain, now under house arrest at his home in Naples, Italy, is newly charged with abandoning incapacitated passengers and failing to inform maritime authorities.
That's in addition to the previously filed charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship before the evacuation of the ship was completed.
In one piece of good news for Captain Schettino, though, Italian prosecutors confirmed that tests have shown he was not on drugs when the accident occurred.
Prosecutors are continuing to investigate the actions of Ciro Ambrosio, the ship's first officer, as well as other onboard officers and several land-based executives of Costa Cruises.
Among those now also under investigation are Manfred Ursprunger, executive vice president of fleet operations; Roberto Ferrarini, head of Costa's crisis unit; Paolo Parodi, fleet superintendent; and four Costa Concordia officers including Roberto Bosio, Silvia Coronica, Salvatore Ursino and Andrea Bongiovanni.
Separately, according to a report by Thomson Reuters, official documents show Schettino was having dinner the night of the accident, then sped up the ship to 16 knots to make up time, despite the ship being in shallow water.
Those documents also said the onboard nautical charts were not detailed enough to reveal obstacles including the rock, which Costa Concordia hit. From the outset of the accident aftermath, Schettino has emphatically claimed that the rock was not on his charts.
Court documents also cite large numbers of people on the bridge when the accident occurred, which apparently generated confusion and distraction for the captain.
But, the documents also allege the captain failed to perform appropriate maneuvers to avoid the collision, did not activate necessary procedures to seal the ship, did not adequately take command of his crew, and waited too long to sound the general alarm and order an evacuation.
The prosecutors also blame Costa's land-side team for being unaware of what was really happening on the ship and not verifying what Schettino was telling them. Instead, officials say they were focused on administrative matters and potential ship repairs.