Captain Francesco Schettino of the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship will remain under house arrest, Italy's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
Schettino became a national pariah after the Concordia ran aground off the shore of Tuscany's Giglio Island on January 13. At least 30 people were killed after the captain made an unapproved change of course and hit a submerged rock, ripping the 230-foot-long gash in the ship's hull that caused the Concordia to sink an hour later.
So far, 25 of the 30 bodies recovered have been identified and two passengers are still missing.
Captain Schettino was immediately arrested after the incident on informal charges of manslaughter, abandoning ship and failure to report an accident, and placed under house arrest in Meta di Sorrento, on the bay of Naples. After a three-hour hearing on Tuesday, the five-judge panel of Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation upheld the Court of Review of Florence's decision, and Schettino will remain detained as an investigation continues.
According to Italian daily Corriere Della Sera, Schettino was allowed to leave his home for Easter dinner with his sister, for three hours.
Prosecutors have called for Schettino to be placed in jail, while the captain's own legal team has appealed the Supreme Court's ruling and asked that he be released, the Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported.
Although he has admitted to taking the ship off course, Schettino has said that he should be praised because of a quick maneuver that saved thousands of lives; as the ship began to list, he turned the boat to shore, eventually landing on the rocky reef where the vessel still sits. But, Schettino was also the first one off the ship and failed to lead the emergency evacuation efforts, a duty that his required by his title.
A new report in Vanity Fair details for the first time a number of other mistakes made by the captain, including the “jaw-droppingly stupid one of dropping the anchor with too much slack, which made the ship tilt further.
Additionally, Giglio police chief Roberto Galli told the magazine that Shettino did not flee the scene by taxi as earlier reported, but instead sat on shore watching the ship sink.
The wreck of the Concordia is expected to sit in the waters off Giglio until the end of the summer. Rotterdam-based marine salvage company Smit Salvage has so far emptied the ship's 17 oil tanks and is removing debris from the sea floor.