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Italy ship owner seeks victim status

Prosecutors want Francesco Schettino to stand trial.

Prosecutors want Francesco Schettino to stand trial.

GROSSETO, Italy — The owner of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia asked a court on Monday to consider it a victim of the disaster, saying it too wants to seek damages for the 2012 grounding off Tuscany that killed 32 people.

Costa Crociere SpA, a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp., made the request as the court in Grosseto, Italy, opened a preliminary, closed-door hearing into the grounding and whether to issue indictments against the captain and crew.

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In Italy, civil cases are heard alongside criminal ones.

In the criminal part of the case, prosecutors want Captain Francesco Schettino to stand trial for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all the 4,200 passengers and crew had been evacuated. They want four other crew members and a Costa manager on land to face charges of having botched the emergency.

A decision on the indictment wasn’t expected Monday, lawyers said. Schettino ordered the ship taken off course Jan. 13, 2012, to bring it closer to the island of Giglio as a favor to friends. But the ship rammed into a reef, leaving a gash in the hull and causing the liner to take on water and capsize.

Passengers recounted a harrowing and delayed evacuation: by the time Schettino ordered passengers to evacuate, the ship was listing so far to one side that many lifeboats couldn’t be lowered.

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