Concordia captain denies sole responsibility for sinking

Concordia captain denies sole responsibility for sinking

The captain of Costa Concordia told a court that he steered the ship into shallow waters to avoid a worse disaster.

Francesco Schettino took to the witness stand in a pre-trial hearing in Italy yesterday, refusing to accept sole blame for sinking the ship with the loss of 32 lives.

Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship before the evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew was complete.

He has admitted making mistakes but says he should not be the only person blamed.

While accepting blame for causing the 114,500-tonne Concordia to hit rocks off the island of Giglio on January 13, Schettino argues he managed to prevent a worse disaster by steering into shallow waters after the impact.

He also claimed that Costa Cruises's management knew its ships regularly came in close to the island to "salute" senior officials on land - the manoeuvre that led to the crash.

The company rejected the accusations and also denied suggestions made during the hearing that generator equipment was faulty or that it had been responsible for delays in informing authorities on shore of the accident.

Costa Cruises' lawyer Marco de Luca said: “Other issues that could concern Costa were raised by the lawyers of some damaged parties, and they concerned the emergency generator, but also these issues were clarified.

“Basically, it was maintained that the generator had failed before the accident, but this was proven wrong, on the basis of documentation presented, certifying that it was functioning properly as shown by tests that had been run the previous week.

“Actually, what was said concerning Costa’s duty to properly inform the port authorities of what had happened, had been misunderstood, because this is a duty of the captain of the ship and not of the crisis unit or the company as a whole.

“This aspect was clarified during the pre-trial hearing, and there were no other issues raised involving Costa.”

Schettino's lawyer Francesco Pepe told journalists in a break during the closed-door hearing in Grosseto: "We are trying to find out exactly what happened.

"But, in any case, the most important thing is that everyone will hold their share of the responsibility in this incident.”


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