A survivor of the Costa Concordia liner disaster has described the sixteen year jail term handed to the captain as ‘correct and proportionate’.
Clonmel man Seamus Moore said the sixteen years Francesco Schettino received was the equivalent to a life sentence in this country and if the Italian served the full term, he would be in his seventies when released.
Mr Moore and his wife Carol were among the survivors when the luxury liner ran aground off the Italian coast four years ago. There were four thousand passengers on board and thirty two lost their lives.
The captain was sentenced to ten years for manslaughter, five for a maritime disaster and one for abandoning his passengers.
“With that number of passengers on board, it was really the size of a small town and it was the captain’s recklessness that caused the accident and put them at risk. He is the person responsible”, said Mr Moore.
He said the trial brought back the horror of the disaster when he and Carol had to climb onto the hull of the capsized ship and feared for their lives. He discovered later that if the ship had run aground in more dangerous waters, and not on the sea shelf that it hit, that more lives would have been lost.
“We were lucky to escape with our lives. It doesn’t effect me that much but the trauma of the incident still has an effect on Carol. The ship was twice the size of the Titanic”, he remarked.
Mr Moore said he could have given evidence at the trial but decided against it as it would have been much the same as the other survivors.
While he understood that the prosecution had sought twenty five years in jail for Schettino, he believed that the sixteen was a ‘life sentence’ for him. And Mr Moore accepted that there may be a long appeal process. “He is entitled to due process and to do what he wants to do. But he has to live with what he did for the rest of his life, as the survivors do, and those who lost friends or relatives do. He has to come to terms with the fact that thirty two people lost their lives. He has to deal with that”.