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Captain was with his lover on Costa Concordia bridge

October 31, 2013 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia was with his lover, a Moldovan dancer, on the bridge of the ill-fated ship when the accident occurred that ran the ship aground, Schettino’s trial has heard. 

Costa Concordia hit rocks and turned on its side in January 2012, killing 32 people. Schettino is facing numerous charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship. He faces up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted.

The Moldovan, Domnica Cemortan, testified that she was in a romantic relationship with the captain and was with him when the cruise ship ran aground off the north-west Italian coast, the BBC has reported.

On the night of the accident, Cemortan had dinner with the captain before he invited her to join him on the bridge. He was making a close sail-past of the small Tuscan island of Giglio when the ship ran aground.

Local papers are filled with rumours, the BBC reported yesterday from Italy. Was the captain distracted by his lover’s presence, or even showing off?

In sensational testimony, Cemortan said she had boarded the ship as a non-paying passenger shortly before the ship struck the rock. She is said to have remarked: “When you are someone’s lover, no-one asks you for a ticket.”

She later dismissed the remark as a joke to her translator.

The court is expected to hear evidence from about 1000 surviving passengers and crew.

The BBC reports that the captain has acknowledged fault in the tragedy. His defence team says part of the reason the ship sank was that an Indonesian helmsman steered it onto rocks and ignored orders to slow down – and then the ship’s watertight doors didn’t work.

The trial continues.

Written by : Peter Needham

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