The captain of the Costa cruise ship that capsized in Italy told a judge he had been ordered to sail too close to shore, court transcripts revealed.
The transcripts obtained by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica said Francesco Schettino told an investigating judge on Jan. 13 that company operating the Costa Concordia had told him to sail close to the rocky shores as a salute to the folks on the island of Giglio
Costa was aware of the repeated practice of ‘saluting’ around the world, Schettino said, adding the company used the up-close views of its ships to help promote their cruises.
Britain’s The Guardian said the captain’s statements were in contrast to the company’s contention it never directed its ships to perform a salute although executives said it was possible a skipper would do so on his own.
Whether under orders or not, Schettino got too close and struck a rock, causing the liner to tip on its side. At least 13 people were killed and Schettino was charged with manslaughter.
Divers found the body of a woman wearing a life jacket in the submerged stern of the Costa Concordia Sunday, Italy’s ANSA news agency said. As many as 20 people remain unaccounted for and are presumed dead inside the ship.
Because of the ongoing search inside the ship, Italian officials face a dilemma over the removal of 2,400 tons of bunker oil and diesel fuel from the wreck.
Ships from the Dutch fuel recovery company Smit are on the scene, but extraction while divers are still looking for the missing is considered dangerous. The government was expected to make an announcement on fuel recovery plans by Sunday night.