Sabato, 16 Febbraio 2019
Dimensione testo

Concordia captain 'distracted' before deadly crash


(By Christopher Livesay)
Grosseto, December 17 - Captain Francesco Shettino
was "distracted" by a telephone call and a woman in the moments
leading up to the cruise-ship crash that killed 32 people off
the coast of Tuscany early last year, the first officer aboard
the Costa Concordia told a court Tuesday.
"The captain was distracted. He was on the telephone with
(retired Costa captain Mario) Palombo. Even though I had
finished my shift, I felt I had to retake command in order to
give orders to the helmsman to start our approach to Giglio
Island, which was getting closer," said Ciro Ambrosio, who has
plea-bargained a sentence of one year and 11 months for multiple
In testimony this October, Palombo said he was telling
Schettino in that phone call there was no reason to sail so
close to Giglio, and advised him to distance the ship from the
The first officer said Schettino then "arrived in the
command center accompanied by a woman, then gave an order to
switch to manual control of the helm".
The woman has been identified as Domnica Cemortan, a
Moldovan dancer who said she was having an affair with
"But he did not immediately speak the phrase 'I'm taking
control', which signals a change in command," continued
Ambrosio, who added that Schettino was communicating only with
hand gestures as he spoke on the phone.
"However, given the way he positioned himself, I assumed he
had taken command and I thought I was no longer in charge.
"Then, since the captain was distracted, and we were
getting closer to Giglio, I gave orders to the helmsman.
"Only afterward did the captain finally say the words 'I'm
taking control', at the time of 21:39:17".
The crash took place shortly later at 21:45 local time,
January 13, 2012.
Ambrosio then added that Schettino ordered to "turn 290
degrees when we were 1.6 miles from the island and increase
Recordings from the night of the disaster were also played
in the courtroom from the ship's black box.
Comments revealed that crewmembers feared running aground
before impact in what became Italy's worst maritime catastrophe
since World War II.
"It's too close, this is crazy!" said an anonymous voice
from the ship's command center before it slammed into rocks and
partially capsized.
Sarcastic laughter was then heard in the background.
Captain Schettino is believed to have been eating dinner at
the time of the comments, when First Officer Ambrosio was on
duty following a new route around Giglio Island mandated by
The captain is on trial for multiple manslaughter and
dereliction of duty, and could face up to 20 years in prison if
he is found guilty.

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