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Costa Concordia’s Captain Trial May Be Delayed Due to Strike

The trial of the captain of the Costa Concordia’s cruise liner that shipwrecked off Tuscany last year might be delayed because of a lawyers’ strike.

The trial, scheduled to begin tomorrow in Grosseto, Italy, could be adjourned to July 17 if lawyers comply with a one-week strike called by their lobby, according to a document posted on the Grosseto court’s website.

The Costa Concordia, owned by Carnival Corp’s Costa Crociere SpA Italian unit, ran aground near the island of Giglio hours after leaving a port close to Rome on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 people. Its captain Francesco Schettino was indicted on May 22 on charges including manslaughter and abandoning the ship while many of the 4,200 passengers and crew were still aboard.

Schettino, who has denied any wrongdoing, saying his actions saved lives, faces up to 20 years in jail, according to prosecutor Francesco Verusio.

The trial needs to ascertain the “real responsibilities,” Schettino’s lawyer Francesco Pepe said today by phone. “The captain certainly has his responsibilities but we want him to be judged for them only.”

Five other defendants including Schettino’s first officer Ciro Ambrosio, and Roberto Ferrarini, head of Costa Crociere’s crisis unit at the time, have sought plea bargains for short prison sentences. The Costa Concordia still lies on its side outside Giglio harbor because a removal plan has fallen behind schedule.

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