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Panel: Francesco Schettino may go on inspection of Costa Concordia

Feb. 26, 2014 at 8:30 AM

GROSSETO, Italy, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia when it capsized off Italy's Tuscan coast in 2012, can visit the wreck, a panel of judges decided.

Schettino asked to be allowed to participate in a court-ordered inspection Thursday of the emergency generator, Italy's ANSA news service reported. It will be the first time he has visited the wreckage of the maritime disaster in which 32 people died.

Schettino, 53, is on trial in Grosseto in Tuscany on charges of multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty.

Thursday's inspection will be the second of two new assessments by experts representing the prosecution, defense and plaintiffs in a civil action following the successful outcome of a parbuckling operation last September to right the ship. The examinations were ordered after magistrates determined gathering new evidence was warranted because significant areas of the ship were accessible after the operation.

Also Tuesday, prosecutors announce that Franco Porcellacchia, who oversaw the parbuckling operation, and consultant Camillo Casella were under investigation in an unauthorized visit to the wreckage Jan. 22, ANSA said.

The two could face charges of breaking court seals, altering the scene and fraud in what investigators called a "serious incident."

"The investigation will come to nothing," Costa lawyer Marco De Luca said, explaining the visit was meant to secure the ship ahead of the court-ordered inspection.

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