The captain of the doomed Costa Concordia is suing the Italian cruise line for wrongful dismissal.

Francesco Schettino has instigated legal action against Costa Cruises to get his job back, nine months after the ship capsized off the Italian island of Giglio with the loss of 32 lives.

Schettino is also claiming back pay, after it emerged yesterday that he had been dismissed by Costa in July.

The company said: “Costa Crociere confirms that it has concluded the disciplinary procedure against Schettino, following the sinking of the Costa Concordia, ordering his dismissal.”

“It is the right of every worker to appeal against his dismissal and Captain Schettino has done no more than exercise that right,” lawyer Bruno Leporatti told Sky News.

“There is nothing to contest or be amazed about, unless we want to say that what the law allows for all citizens doesn’t apply for Francesco Schettino.”

He is likely to face charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship when preliminary hearings are due to start Grosseto in Tuscany on Monday. He is then expected to be sent for trial.

The captain has claimed that he managed to save lives on the night of the disaster by steering the listing ship so that it sank in shallow waters off the coast of Giglio on January 13, rather than in the open ocean.

The hearing, which is expected to last at least three days, will be held in a theatre auditorium because Grosseto’s court is too small to accommodate all the witnesses, experts and aggrieved parties in the case, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Eight other people are being investigated for the tragedy – five of the ship’s officers and three employees of the Genoa-based cruise company.