Costa Concordia captain fights firing in court

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A court is deciding whether to indict a cruise ship captain on a manslaughter charge after an accident left 32 dead — during which 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.

Meanwhile, Francesco Schettino, the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship, made his return to court this week to contest being fired from Costa Crociere SpA, the cruise ship company he worked for when the accident occurred, according to The Maritime Executive.

A closed-door hearing was held Wednesday in Torre Annunziata, near Naples, Italy. A separate court is deciding whether to indict Schettino on manslaughter and other charges.

The nearly 1,000-foot cruise liner capsized Jan. 13, 2012, off the Tuscan island of Giglio after it struck rocks. Officials have placed blame on Schettino for the accident; investigators allege that he took the luxury liner off its course in a “stunt,” the publication reported.

Survivors and observers have separately accused Schettino of flirting with women in the moments before the crash and said he was distracted from his duties.

However, the captain insists that he will command another vessel at some point. He also stated on numerous occasions that his steering abilities helped to save many people on that fateful night. In his defense, he noted that the reef responsible for taking the Concordia down was not visible on his navigation charts.

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