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Captain of shipwrecked Costa Concordia to testify at Italian manslaughter trial for 1st time

  • Francesco Schettino arrives to offer his first court testimony about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people, in Grosseto, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship offered his first court testimony Tuesday about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people, sitting hunched behind a table on a theater's stage while prosecutors questioned him from the first row. While Francesco Schettino has long said he looked forward to his day in court to vindicate himself, he was granted a request not to have his image, and only his voice, broadcast from the theater that has served as a courtroom due to the widespread interest in the case. Schettino is being tried alone on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili)

    Francesco Schettino arrives to offer his first court testimony about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people, in Grosseto, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship offered his first court testimony Tuesday about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people, sitting hunched behind a table on a theater's stage while prosecutors questioned him from the first row. While Francesco Schettino has long said he looked forward to his day in court to vindicate himself, he was granted a request not to have his image, and only his voice, broadcast from the theater that has served as a courtroom due to the widespread interest in the case. Schettino is being tried alone on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili)  (The Associated Press)

  • Francesco Schettino stands at the Grosseto court, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship offered his first court testimony Tuesday about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people, sitting hunched behind a table on a theater's stage while prosecutors questioned him from the first row. While Francesco Schettino has long said he looked forward to his day in court to vindicate himself, he was granted a request not to have his image, and only his voice, broadcast from the theater that has served as a courtroom due to the widespread interest in the case. Schettino is being tried alone on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili)

    Francesco Schettino stands at the Grosseto court, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship offered his first court testimony Tuesday about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people, sitting hunched behind a table on a theater's stage while prosecutors questioned him from the first row. While Francesco Schettino has long said he looked forward to his day in court to vindicate himself, he was granted a request not to have his image, and only his voice, broadcast from the theater that has served as a courtroom due to the widespread interest in the case. Schettino is being tried alone on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili)  (The Associated Press)

The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship is offering his first testimony about the 2012 shipwreck off an Italian island that killed 32 people.

Francesco Schettino arrived some 45 minutes late Tuesday for his trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. His lawyer described Schettino as "tense, concentrated."

The disgraced former captain has long said he looked forward to his day in court to vindicate himself. His defense claims that no one died in the collision itself, but that the failure of a backup generator and supposedly water-tight compartments that were flooded created problems during the evacuation, when the deaths occurred.

Schettino is being tried alone after five other defendants reached plea bargains. If convicted, he could receive up to 20 years in prison.