Remains found of one missing Concordia victim
Concordia navigator says Schettino failed to sound alarm08 October, 18:18
(ANSA) - Florence, October 8 - The body has been found of one of the two victims of the Costa Concordia disaster that had not previously been recovered, ANSA sources said Tuesday. The sources said the body is probably that of Indian crew member Russel Rebello. The body of Italian passenger Maria Grazia Tricarichi was also missing after the fatally smashing into a rock formation off Giglio Island.
The crash led to the deaths of 32 people on January 13, 2012 in one of Italy's worst maritime disasters.
Prosecutors in the Tuscan city of Grosseto requested DNA analysis to verify compatibility with Rebello's blood relations.
The Grosseto prosecutors were at a court hearing where the Concordia's ex-captain, Francesco Schettino, is on trial for charges including multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty.
The wrecked ship's navigator, Simone Canessa, confirmed on Tuesday that Schettino had ordered him to change the ship's route on the night of its destruction.
Canessa is the second witness for the prosecution.
"Before leaving (the port of) Civitavecchia, Commander Schettino told me to wait on the bridge. Then he told me to program a modification of the route Civitiavecchia-Savona to pass next to Giglio," Canessa said, responding to prosecutor Alessandro Leopizzi's questioning.
The prosecutor also played an audio recording of Schettino's voice speaking to Canessa, which was taken in the control room when the ship was still in Civitavecchia.
"So see what speed we have to do. Let's go by Giglio. Let's do this bow to Giglio. Let's go do this f**king Giglio thing," Schettino told Canessa in the recording, using the term "the bow", which Canessa explained was a practise of making a small detour in the ship's route in order to greet or salute someone.
"In August 2005, we flanked Giglio Island on another ship, in total safety, at a speed of five knots and 100 metres from the coast," Canessa said, adding that the captain of that voyage, Mario Palombo, had warned authorities both on land and sea of the maneuver he was making.
Canessa testified that he had heard only indirectly why Schettino wanted to make "the bow" at Giglio the night of the disaster.
"I had no direct information, but I had heard people say that it was to salute some Giglio residents or someone who worked on the ship," said Canessa.
The prosecutor played another recorded conversation in which Schettino first spoke to Roberto Ferrarini, coordinator of the crisis unit for Costa Cruises, after impact.
"Roberto, I passed under Giglio. Commander Palombo told me 'Pass under, pass under'. I hit the stern on a shallow seabed.
I'm destroyed. I'm dead. Don't tell me anything," Schettino lamented.
The navigator also told the court that Schettino refused to raise a general alarm to alert passengers and crew imminent danger.
"I asked Commander Schettino very insistently to do something, to sound a general emergency, but he said to wait. He didn't respond," said Canessa. "Schettino gave the impression of having the situation under control and for this reason even we officers at the beginning were less pressing," Canessa explained.
But a little later, "We raised our voices, even screaming, asking him to proceed with a general emergency alarm," Canessa went on.
After great pressure, Schettino told the officers "abandon ship", the navigator recalled.
"He was behind the control room console. He paced while on the cell phone. At a certain point, he looked at us and said, 'abandon ship'. But I said, 'First the general alarm must be sounded'," said Canessa.
The navigator also described the captain changing out of uniform during the evacuation phase.
"Commander Schettino changed his suit. I had left him while he was wearing his uniform with his rank," Canessa said.
Then during the agitation of the abandonment of the control room and the evacuation of the ship, "I didn't see him anymore.
I saw him again later, and he was wearing a blue jacket, a birthday present. Apparently he had changed his suit. He didn't have his rank anymore," Canessa recalled.
Schettino has been slammed for allegedly abandoning ship without overseeing the evacuation, but has claimed his image and actions have been distorted by investigators and the media.
The ex-captain has said his actions on the night prevented the disaster being even worse.