Concordia Captain Accused of Trying to Cover up Cause of Shipwreck

Image: Concordia Captain Accused of Trying to Cover up Cause of Shipwreck

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 11:03 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino allegedly told the ship's crisis coordinator to lie about what caused the Italian cruise liner to slam into a reef near Giglio Island in January 2012 — a crash that killed 32 people onboard.

On Monday, the cruise company's crisis coordinator Roberto Ferrarini told an Italian court that Schettino asked him to blame the crash on a power outage in an attempt to cover up his tracks.

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"He suggested we say an [electrical] blackout had caused the collision. I said absolutely not," Ferrarini told the court.

"That was a different false account compared to what he had said before, namely, that he had hit a rock which caused the ship to flood," Ferrarini added, according to the Daily Mail. "I remember I got quite angry, and I shared that reaction with my colleagues."

Ferrarini was sentenced last July to two years and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. Schettino's lawyer, Domenico Pepe, said Ferrarini's crisis response group was to blame because they had abandoned his client, Reuters reported.

While Schettino has taken some responsibility for the crash, the captain's attorney argued that the deaths were not a result of the crash. The deaths stemmed from the backup generator failing to work and, as a result, compartments that were supposed to be water-tight flooded.

In addition to Ferrarini's testimony, the court also heard a recorded conversation between the crisis coordinator and the captain, in which Schettino reportedly says, "I have made a mess and practically the whole ship is flooding."

"What should I say to the media? . . . To the port authorities I have said that we had an (inaudible), we have had a blackout," Schettino continues, according to Reuters.

Schettino was charged with manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster, and abandoning ship with passengers still on board. His defense team argues the captain crashed because he was given bad navigation charts.

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