The captain of the Costa Concordia has been found guilty and sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the tragedy that left 32 people dead.

Captain Francesco Schettino, 54, was accused of taking the ship too close to the shore when it struck a rock off Isola del Giglio in 2012 and then abandoning the 290m-long vessel during a chaotic evacuation with passengers and crew still on board.

Schettino denied the charges and claimed he was being made a scapegoat for a disaster that his lawyers claimed was a collective failure by all the ship’s crew.

Prosecutors had sought a 26-year jail term, but at the court in the city of Grosseto, Judge Giovanna sentenced the captain to a total of 16 years in prison. He received 10 years for multiple manslaughter, five years for causing the shipwreck, and one year for abandoning ship.

Five other crew members, including the helmsman, had previously been handed prison sentences of up to two years and 10 months in plea bargains early in the investigation for their role in the shipwreck.

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