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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.

    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.

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    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.

    Associated Press