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Abandon ship alert 'delegated' to crew, says Schettino

Concordia captain points to 'predisposed people' on board

11 February, 18:47
Abandon ship alert 'delegated' to crew, says Schettino (see related) (ANSA) - Grosseto, February 11 - The captain of the cruise ship that crashed and killed 32 people off the coast of Italy two years ago said Tuesday it was up to his crew to launch an abandon-ship alert and not him personally. "The captain delegates. There are predisposed people who have to carry out what I say," said Francesco Schettino, who was manning the Costa Concordia the night it struck a rock off the Tuscan island of Giglio on January 13, 2012. On trial for manslaughter, Schettino spoke to reporters after former first mate Roberto Bosio told a court he gave the order to abandon ship. Asked if he had done so in the face of Schettino's "inertia", Bosio replied "Yes, the captain did not give the order" because he was allegedly on the phone and telling his subordinates "Wait, wait". Bosio claimed there was "anger" among the ship's officers, who were "swearing" at Schettino.

Schettino, dubbed Captain Coward, denies the charges and claims he made a last-minute manoeuvre that saved lives.

He also claims his actions were aimed at "avoiding panic" among the passengers. On Monday the court heard that Concordia captains had been "competing" with each other over a number of years to get closer to the island to perform the risky salute that led to Italy's worst postwar maritime disaster.