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Charges sought against Costa Concordia crew

An Italian judge began hearing a request on Monday to send the former captain of the Costa Concordia and five other ship's officers to trial over the accident that sank the liner with the loss of 32 lives in January 2012.

Prosecutors are seeking to have the 52-year-old captain, Francesco Schettino, tried on charges that include manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, according to The Maritime Executive.

The luxury liner had just begun a Mediterranean cruise when it came too close to shore, hitting a rock that tore a gash in its hull and causing it to capsize in shallow waters just outside the port of Giglio. The captain allegedly steered the ship off course to perform a “stunt” and was flirting with women in the moments leading up to the crash.

Both Schettino and the ship's owners, Costa Cruises, were heavily criticized about both the accident and the chaotic nighttime evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew. Costa paid $1.31 million to settle potential criminal charges, although the payment did not affect lawsuits.
Judge Pietro Molino will also consider whether five other officers should face charges ranging from manslaughter to failure to cooperate with marine authorities.

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