Schettino Accused of Cover Up
Schettino tried to persuade an official working in Costa Crociere’s crisis room to report that the Costa Concordia cruise ship had experience a blackout before the impact
Costa Concordia captain accused of mounting cover up
Francesco Schettino, who steered the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia onto rocks in 2012, tried to blame the collision on a black out, a witness at his trial claimed on Monday.
Schettino is accused of piloting the 114,000 tonne Costa Concordia onto the Tuscan island of Giglio during a ‘sail past’ of the island, ripping a hole in the ship which tilted onto its side in shallow water. As 4,200 passengers and crew fled the vessel, 32 drowned.
Speaking at Schettino’s trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship in Grosetto, Tuscany, cruise ship company official Roberto Ferrarini accused Schettino of initially trying to mount a cover up in the minutes after the impact.
“Schettino proposed I tell authorities that a blackout caused the collision,” said Ferrarini, who was manning the crisis room at Costa Crociere in Genoa that night and spoke by phone to Schettino.
“I disagreed strongly and became angry. This was false and different to what he had told me earlier, namely that he he had hit rocks and that the ship had flooded,” he said.
“I remember reacting pretty badly, as did my colleagues in the crisis room”, he added.
After pleading guilty last year to charges related to his role in the crash, Ferrarini was given a reduced, two year, ten month sentence.
Schettino has been accused of dithering over evacuating the ship as it drifted after the impact, with water pouring in through the 160 foot rent in its side. When the Costa Concordia came to rest on shallow rocks, yards from the shore of Giglio and slowly settled onto its side, making escape hazardous, he is accused of leaping onto a lifeboat before all passengers had evacuated.
In his defence, Schettino has blamed poor navigational maps for the collision and said he slipped into a lifeboat by mistake. He has also alleged that Costa Crociere officials asked him to downplay the disaster with the coast guard, an allegation Ferrarini denied.
In a tape recording of a phone conversation with Ferrarini after the impact, which was played in court on Monday, Schettino can also be heard blaming a former cruise ship captain, Antonio Palombo, for telling him the ‘sail past’ was safe.
“It was commander Palombo who told me ‘Pass underneath, pass underneath.’ I passed underneath, I hit the bottom with the stern. I am.. look, I am dying,” he told Ferrarini.
In the conversation, in which Ferrini’s voice cannot be heard, Schettino said he had hit a “little rock”, and while the ship was letting in water, “only” the stern had been hit.
Source: The Telegraph