The trial of Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino has been opened and adjourned until next week.

The hearing yesterday was adjourned because of a nationwide lawyers’ strike in Italy.

Schettino faces charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship. Thirty-two people died when Costa Concorida hit rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012.

Schettino denies the charges, and his defence is expected to argue that no single person was to blame for the accident. He claims his manoeuvring of the ship closer to shore saved lives.

The trial is being heard in Grosseto, a city 90 miles north-west of Rome which is nearest to the site of the wreck. It is taking place in the city’s theatre, rather than its small courthouse.

Up to 430 witnesses and 250 plaintiffs could be called during the  trial, AFP news agency reports. Schettino faces a maximum 20 years in jail if found guilty.