Captain ‘recorded’ ordering Concordia stunt

Captain ‘recorded’ ordering Concordia stunt

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The captain of the Costa Concordia was recorded ordering his crew to sail close to the island of Giglio just hours before its hull was ripped apart by rocks, resulting in the deaths of 32 people.

Francesco Schettino is currently facing trial over his role in the partial sinking of the vessel. He stands accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship.

According to reports, the court heard a recording made on the bridge, in which he reportedly said: “Let’s get really close to Giglio, I love doing these salutes. Let’s go and do this Giglio s***.”

It is believed that the manoeuvre was conducted in order to impress Mario Palombo, a veteran captain who was on the island on the night of the disaster.

In another recording played to the jury, Schettino can be heard speaking to Roberto Ferrarini, head of Costa Cruises’ crisis unit. He said: “Roberto, I took the ship past Giglio. Palombo was telling me ‘sail close, sail close’. I hit the rocks. I’m destroyed, I’m dead, don’t say anything to me.”

Last week, first mate Giovanni Iaccarino also testified that the captain had told officers on the bridge he “messed up”, having struck the rocks.

‘I messed up’, Concordia captain said after hitting rocks

‘I messed up’, Concordia captain said after hitting rocks

By Phil Davies

'I messed up', Concordia captain said after hitting rocksA detailed version of events on the bridge of Costa Concordia in the minutes leading up to the ship crashing into rocks has been relayed to a court in Italy.

Captain Francesco Schettino ordered his navigator to change route from its designated course so that the ship passed within just a few hundred yards of Giglio, the court heard yesterday.

Schettino is on trial over the disaster in which 32 people died.

“Let’s get really close to Giglio, I love doing these salutes. Let’s go and do this Giglio s***,” the captain told his crew, as the ship prepared to set out from Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, on the night of January 13, 2012, at the start of a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Audio recordings from the bridge, which were played in court, showed that Schettino made the remarks at 6.27pm that evening.

Schettino spoke in Neapolitan dialect, rather than standard Italian, when he told the ship’s navigator Simone Canessa to change the route.

The officer told the court in Grosseto, Tuscany, where Schettino is on trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship, that he was not explicitly told the reason for the change of course, according to the report from the trial.

“I wasn’t directly given any information but I heard that it was to perform a salute, for the benefit of members of the crew who came from Giglio,” he said.

Schettino reportedly performed the sail-past to impress Antonello Tievoli, the ship’s maitre’d, who was from Giglio, and Mario Palombo, a sea captain and friend who was on the island that night and with whom he was in contact by telephone.

The court also heard an audio recording of the moments after the ship crashed into the rocks and the captain realised the enormity of what had happened.

As water flooded into the engine rooms and a power black-out sparked fear among the passengers, Schettino called Roberto Ferrarini, the head of the crisis unit of Costa Cruises.

“Roberto, I took the ship past Giglio. Palombo was telling me ‘sail close, sail close’. I hit the rocks. I’m destroyed, I’m dead, don’t say anything to me.”

Another witness, first mate Giovanni Iaccarino, said that the captain put his head in his hands and told the officers on the bridge: “I messed up”.

Canessa also claimed Schettino showed chronic indecision as he contemplated the loss of his ship.

“I was saying to him very insistently that he needed to do something, to give the general emergency signal, but he was telling us to wait,” he told the court.

“At first he gave the impression of having everything under control and initially us officers were less insistent, but then we started shouting and screaming at him to give the emergency signal.”

It was only much later that the captain gave the order to abandon ship.

He also made a point of going below to change out of his captain’s uniform and into civilian clothes, allegedly in an effort to blend in with passengers when he abandoned ship before the evacuation was completed.

“I saw him later and he was wearing a blue jacket,” said Canessa. “He had changed out of his uniform.”

As panic broke out on the bridge after the collision, Schettino turned to Domnica Cemortan, a Moldovan ship’s dancer whom he had had dinner with that night, and told her “You will be saved”, according to Canessa.

Cemortan was not the only non-officer on the bridge. “There were other girls, hostesses,” Canessa said.

Costa Concordia to be brought upright in September

Costa Concordia to be brought upright in September

By Hollie-Rae Merrick

Costa Concordia to be brought upright in SeptemberGrounded ship Costa Concordia is expected to be raised into an upright position in September.

No official date has been set by the Italian authorities or by the two companies – Titan Salvage and Micoperi – that were awarded the recovery project, CBS News reports.

The ship ran aground off the island of Giglio on January 13 last year.

Months of work by around 500 salvage workers have suffered delays caused by the weather and complications in efforts to drill and level the uneven granite seabed.

The companies have undergone months of planning to ensure the ship is ready to be rotated into an upright position, but the next phase to remove the ship from the sea completely is unlikely to happen until next year.

Speaking to CBS News, salvage master Nick Sloane said two massive tanks had been installed on the bow of the ship to stablise the ship and reduce any chance of further damage. The tanks, which were installed last week, also provide buoyancy.

Microphones and cameras will be installed in at least five areas of the ship to allow for constant monitoring during the eight to 10 hour operation.

Sloane said: “There will be a lot of noise and it’s important that we listen to the different sections.

“We can take measures and make adjustments depending on any twist and tortion on the ship. We are confident the ship will be coming upright and know the first 20 degrees of rotation are critical. It’s going to be a long, nerve-racking day.”

Two of the 32 people killed when the Costa capsized are still missing and authorities hope to recover their bodies after the parbuckling. Officials also still need to empty the safe deposit boxes in the passenger cabins and return belongings to their legitimate owners.

Meanwhile, the trial of the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is due to resume next month.

Five other members of the Costa Concordia staff were convicted of manslaughter in July and sentenced to less than three years each.