An Italian appeals court has upheld the conviction and 16-year prison sentence for the Italian captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off Tuscany in 2012, killing 32 people.

Prosecutors had sought 27 years and three months for Capt. Francesco Schettino, but the court kept the original sentence Tuesday, according to the ANSA news agency.

Both the prosecution and defense appealed the conviction by a lower court last year. The prosecution sought to toughen the sentence while the defense argued that blame didn't fall solely on Schettino.

He remains free, and has one final appeal to Italy's highest court.

Schettino was convicted of manslaughter and causing the shipwreck by colliding with a reef near tiny Giglio island and of abandoning the capsized vessel with people still aboard.