ROME, May 12 (Reuters) - The former captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Friday by Italy's highest court for his role in the 2012 shipwreck, which killed 32 people off the island of Giglio, a court official said.
Francesco Schettino was originally found guilty in 2015 of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his passengers. Friday's ruling exhausted his appeals process, with the court rejecting his claim that others bore the blame for the disaster.
Free pending the decision, the 56-year-old Schettino is expected to start his jail sentence in the coming hours.
Schettino was commanding the vessel, which was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, when it hit rocks off the Tuscan holiday island, tearing a hole in its side and eventually forcing it to keel over. (Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Isla Binnie)