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Costa Concordia captain blames helmsman for the grounding

Costa Concordia captain blames helmsman for the grounding
Costa Concordia Capt. Francesco Schettino faulted his helmsman for misunderstanding his command and turning the wrong way, causing the ship to strike the rocks off Giglio.

During the first day of substantive testimony in the trial that charges Schettino with manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship, the court on Monday heard the captain's contention that if helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin had steered quickly to port as ordered, Costa Concordia would have missed the rocks.

But, according to CNN, the BBC and other news accounts, a maritime expert testified that turning the ship just 13 seconds before its impact would not have mattered since it takes longer than that to alter course.

The helmsman is among four Costa crew and one shoreside employee who received reduced prison sentences in plea bargains for their roles in connection with the deadly grounding. Rusli Bin was sentenced to one year and eight months but is not likely to serve due to a law that shaves three years from sentences to combat prison overcrowding, according to the Associated Press.

Schettino's defense team is asking for Costa Concordia to be re-examined by experts now that it is upright. They argue that a closer look may reveal mechanical faults or other issues that could have played a role in the incident.

Thirty-two people died after Costa Concordia capsized on Jan. 13, 2012.