Grounded Cruise Ship Trial Begins With Black Box Evidence

The grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia may not be on trial itself but court proceedings began this week, looking for answers to what happened. More than 100 lawyers representing survivors and the families of passengers and crew members who died in the January event are on hand to plead their case.

The proceedings will be based on evidence from the ship’s black box recordings, navigational details and conversations recorded on the bridge of the ship. Making up part of the 270 pages of documents before the court is Captain Francesco Schettino’s testimony that his ship was not too close to the island of Gigio. Schettino maintains that he was simply following company policy to “salute” the island.

Thirty-two people died after Schettino allegedly took the ship off course and dangerously close to the Tuscan island of Giglio on the night of January 13. The ship then ran aground and capsized. Hearings this week will help decide whether to put Schettino on trial for manslaughter among other charges.

“We want to look him in the eye to see how he will react to the accusations,” German survivor Michael Liessen, 50, who was attending with his wife said in a ClarionLedger report.