An Italian court on Wednesday sentenced the captain of the Costa Concordia to 16 years in prison for his role in the 2012 disaster that left 32 people dead.
Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 26 years for Francesco Schettino, who they said brought the cruise liner too close to the shore in an attempt to impress passengers, then failed to promptly evacuate the ship when it struck a reef, NBC News reported. He left the ship before passengers and crew had been evacuated, and, ultimately, 32 people died.
Schettino admitted some responsibility in the disaster, but denied responsibility for the deaths, Reuters reported.
In a speech to the court, he said he had been made a scapegoat for the disaster. Schettino may still appeal the verdict and prison sentence.
"All the responsibility has been loaded on to me with no respect for the truth or for the memory of the victims," he said, according to the BBC.
Cruise operator Costa Cruises has paid a fine of more than $1 million, and damages will also be paid to the families of the victims.
After the crash, the ship remained off the coast for more than two years, Reuters reported. It was designated as the most expensive shipwreck in history.
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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