Italy shipwreck captain sues over job

The captain of an Italian luxury liner which crashed in January is taking ship owner Costa Crociere to court for firing him and is demanding his job back, Italy's Repubblica newspaper says.

Francesco Schettino, who is being investigated for causing the shipwreck which claimed 32 lives and abandoning the Costa Concordia before everyone had been evacuated, was fired by Costa at the end of July, the report said on Wednesday.

"Costa Crociere confirms that it has concluded the disciplinary procedure against Schettino following the Costa Concordia shipwreck, ordering his dismissal," the company, Europe's biggest cruise operator, told Italian media.

The captain, who expects to find out next week whether he will face trial along with eight others for his role in the tragedy, has claimed his actions saved lives and insists Costa reinstate him and hand over back pay.

Schettino's lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, was not available for comment.

A pre-trial hearing in the Tuscan town of Grosseto on Monday will establish whether prosecutors have a case against Schettino, who is accused of performing a risky "salute" manoeuvre close to Giglio island where the ship hit rocks.

Five other crew members and three Costa executives are also being investigated, including Roberto Ferrarini, Costa's fleet crisis coordinator, who was in regular contact with Schettino on the night of the tragedy.

The captain is under house arrest in his home town of Meta di Sorrento, near Naples, but is expected to request permission to attend the closed-door hearing, where experts will present results of analysis of black box data.

AFP

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