Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino has appeared on Italian TV to apologise for the disaster which killed more than 30 people.
He said he thought constantly about the victims but insisted others should also share the blame, saying the ship had been under the command of another officer at the time it ran aground off the island of Giglio in January.
“When there’s an accident, it is not just the ship that is identified or the company, the captain is identified and so it’s normal that I should apologise as a representative of this system,” Schettino told Italy’s Canale 5 television.
He said he blamed himself for being “distracted” by a telephone call but said he had not been on the bridge when the ship ran aground.
“At that moment, I went up to the deck and ordered the ship to be put on manual navigation and I didn’t have command, that’s to say being in charge of sailing the ship, that was the officer,” he said.
When asked about the youngest passenger who died – a five-year-old girl – he could not answer and broke down, the BBC reported.
Schettino denies charges including manslaughter and causing a shipwreck.
An Italian judge has lifted Schettino’s house arrest, but said he must not leave his hometown, near Naples, while the investigation continues.
In a letter published recently in Italy’s La Corriere della Sera newspaper, Schettino argued that he had saved many lives by steering the stricken vessel into shallow water.
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