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GROSSETO

Officers were on playstation when Concordia hit rocks

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© ANSA

Grosseto, October 7 - The first mate of the Costa
Concordia cruise ship on Monday told a Tuscan court that he and
the cartographer were resting in their cabins "playing on their
Playstations" when the giant liner smashed into a rock formation
on Giglio Island off the Tuscan coast on January 13, 2012.
Fifty-year-old Giovanni Iaccarino was the first of 1,040
witnesses listed to be heard in the trial against the ship's
ex-captain, Francesco Schettino.
Schettino is accused of multiple manslaughter and
dereliction of duty for his role in the shipwreck that killed
32, forced the evacuation of thousands onboard, and caused
massive economic damage to Costa Cruises and to Giglio Island, a
popular Tuscan tourist destination where the massive ship
crashed.
Iaccarino and the Concordia's cartographer, Simone Canessa
were both scheduled for questioning Monday as witnesses for the
prosecution.
Prosecutors in the theatre serving as courtroom in the
Tuscan city of Grosseto alternated between live and videotaped
testimony to reconstruct the dynamics of the fatal disaster.
The videotape was filmed on the Costa Concordia's twin
sister ship, the Costa Serena, a method of presenting evidence
criticized by a court-appointed lawyer for the Concordia, Cesare
Bulgheroni.
In live testimony, Iaccarino recalled that at the moment of
impact, he and Canessa were resting in their cabin.
"We were playing on Playstation when we became aware of the
ship hitting on the left, then on the right. Materials fell
down.
The sensation was like hitting aground or a collision. This
was the impression I had at that moment," Iaccarino said of the
moment of impact.
Iaccarino was the first person to go check and find out
that the engine room and bilge pumps were flooded - 11 minutes
after impact - and to communicate the irreparable damage to the
control room.
Iaccarino also testified that Schettino ordered the ship to
sail a half-mile from the shore of Giglio Island instead of the
route's usual five-mile distance in the centre of the Argentario
Canal.
Iaccarino also testified that Schettino had wanted to
maneuver toward the island seven days earlier, but that bad
weather had disallowed it.
Iaccarino said the ship's officers took charge of the new
route, including the cartographer Canessa, who drew it on
available nautical maps, taking into account Schettino's command
to call him as soon as the ship was near the island, so that the
commander could position himself in one of the ship's
restaurants.
In videotaped testimony, Iaccarino recalled, "Having gone
down to the lower bridge and quickly checked the machine room, I
saw that the diesel generators 1, 2 and 3" as well as the power
plant and electric thrusters powered by diesel generators "were
flooded".
"Inside I had the feeling the ship was lost. I told Canessa
the situation over the telephone. He was to have told the
commander. The situation was grave," the first mate said in the
video.
"It was the second-in-command, Bosio, who told me to go
look below. I don't believe Schettino was against it, otherwise
I wouldn't have gone down," Iaccarino said in the video, adding
that on the other side of the bulkhead "there was the sea", and
that he was convinced that the other three diesel generators
were flooded as well.
Iaccarino said there was a blackout on the bridge. He
reported radioing Bosio to say, "The water is continuing to
rise".
In the videotaped testimony Iaccarino also remembered that
he heard an announcement saying things were under control at
22:04.
Iaccarino recalled returning to the control room after the
impact and saw that the instruments indicated that the ship "had
gone from 16 knots to nine".
"I looked at the nautical map and I saw that we were on a
seabed near the rocks of Giglio. I looked at the panel and it
was full of red lights. Then Commander Schettino put his hands
in his hair and said, 'I messed up'," Iaccarino said.

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