Costa Concordia Captain Found Guilty in Fatal Shipwreck, Sentenced to 16 Years

PHOTO: A view of the Costa Concordia after the cruise ship ran aground and keeled over off the Isola del Giglio, Jan. 14, 2012.PlayAFP/Getty Images
WATCH Costa Concordia Captain Gets 16 Years in Prison

Italian Captain Francesco Schettino was found guilty today for causing the fatal shipwreck of the Costa Concordia and sentenced to 16 years in prison, according to a three-judge panel.

The verdict came after a 19-month-long trial in which Schettino, who had been accused of causing the Jan. 13, 2012 shipwreck near the Italian island of Giglio, was charged with multiple counts of manslaughter and abandoning ship before all 4,200 passengers could be safely evacuated.

As part of the sentence, Schettino will not be allowed to command a ship for five years.

Investigators had harshly criticized Schettino's handling of the crash before and during the trial -- accusing him of bringing the vessel too close to shore when it struck rocks off the Tuscan island, tearing a hole in its side and causing the death of 32 people.

Prosecutors had requested for the maximum sentence of 26 years, but instead got 16 years and one month by the three-judge panel in the city of Grosetto, where the trial took place.

PHOTO: The Costa Concordia sits out by the breakwater in the Port of Genoa, Feb. 11, 2015.Terry Moran/ABC News
The Costa Concordia sits out by the breakwater in the Port of Genoa, Feb. 11, 2015.

Schettino, 54, did not appear in court as a judge read the verdict.

Lawyers for many of the survivors and victims' families have attached civil suits to the criminal trial as a way to press the court to order Costa Crociere, the Italian cruise company that operated the ship, to pay hefty damages.

PHOTO: The Costa Concordia sits out by the breakwater in the Port of Genoa, Feb. 11, 2015.Terry Moran/ABC News
The Costa Concordia sits out by the breakwater in the Port of Genoa, Feb. 11, 2015.

The judge did say Schettino and the cruise company had to pay damages and legal fees as part of the guilty, but did not go into specifics.

While insisting Schettino deserves to be convicted, the plaintiffs' lawyers have lamented to the court that no one from the cruise company's upper echelons was put on trial.

PHOTO: Captain Francesco Schettino walks in Giglio port after boarding the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, just off the coast of the Giglio island, Feb. 27, 2014.Andrew Medichini/AP Photo
Captain Francesco Schettino walks in Giglio port after boarding the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, just off the coast of the Giglio island, Feb. 27, 2014.

Prosecutors had insisted Schettino was a "reckless idiot" and asked the judges to convict him and sentence him to 26 years and three months in prison.

PHOTO: The Costa Concordia sits out by the breakwater in the Port of Genoa, Feb. 11, 2015.Terry Moran/ABC News
The Costa Concordia sits out by the breakwater in the Port of Genoa, Feb. 11, 2015.

Four Concordia crew members and the boat's land-based crisis coordinator were allowed to plea bargain. None is serving prison time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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