Italy's highest court ruled Tuesday that the captain of Costa Concordia, which capsized on January 13, will remain under house arrest during a criminal investigation into his actions.
Prosecutors have pushed to put Captain Francesco Schettino behind bars, while his defense argued for his freedom. The Court of Cassation met Tuesday morning in Rome and issued its ruling later that evening, according to a CNN report.
The report quoted a pre-ruling statement from Schettino's lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, who said that his client had "full trust and respect in the judges and that he awaits the Supreme Court's decision with serenity."
With two people still missing and presumed dead, 30 bodies have now been recovered from the site of the Concordia wreck off Italian island of Giglio. The accident occurred after Schettino deviated from the ship's approved route to "salute" the island's residents. Schettino -- who faces a number of allegations, including manslaughter, abandoning ship, causing a shipwreck and failing to report the accident to the coast guard, has been under house arrest outside Naples since being taken into custody following the incident.
Meanwhile, an operation to refloat the wrecked Costa Concordia is now being considered. Teams of engineers would work around the clock for a year to remove the ship from the shallow waters of the marine sanctuary in which it sits. However, Costa is still evaluating several other proposals for removing the ship.
Costa says the next phase in the ship's removal is "care taking," with the intention to "guarantee environmental monitoring and protection with the assistance of experts using dedicated means and resources, and to clean up the seabed and the area around the hull." Conducted by the Neri/Smit Dutch Salvage team, this process will last one to two months.
The extraction of a half-million gallons of fuel from the ship, which began February 12, was completed in late March. According to a company statement from Costa Crociere, which owns and operates Concordia, the fuel was removed from 17 tanks, with a small amount of fuel that "pose no significant environmental risk" to be left in the tanks' bulkheads. The Neri/Smit Salvage team led the operation.
Costa has offered passengers who were onboard when the ship struck a rock and capsized 11,000 euros each (about $14,500) in compensation. The amount, according to Costa, is to cover "all patrimonial and non-patrimonial damages, including loss of baggage and personal effects, psychological distress and loss of enjoyment of the cruise vacation." The lump sum extended to non-paying children as well, regardless of age.
The deal did not cover crew members, those who lost loved ones or those who were injured. For full compensation and cancellation information for survivors and all other Costa cruisers..
The compensation was announced after negotiations between the line and consumer groups. Passengers were free to reject the deal and take legal recourse if they so desired. To that end, several class-action lawsuits are reportedly in the works against the line, asking for far more per claimant than the deal announced today.
The largest potential monetary payout demanded to date is $460 million in a suit brought on behalf of four Americans and two Italians who rejected the 11,000 euro offer made by Costa Crociere. The civil suit was announced at in Genoa but filed in Miami by Mitchell Proner, an American personal injury lawyer.