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Search on for missing Concordia helmsman

Indonesian Rusli Bin can 'help establish truth', says Schettino

11 March, 15:37
Search on for missing Concordia helmsman (ANSA) - Grosseto, March 11 - The Grosseto prosecutor's office is doing everything possible to locate the helmsman of the Costa Concordia at the time of the 2012 shipwreck so he can stand as a witness in the trial of former captain Francesco Schettino, sources close to the prosecution said Tuesday. Indonesian Jacob Rusli Bin has not been heard from since being sentenced to 20 months for multiple manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck following a plea bargain last July.

Prosecutors have involved the Italian embassy in Jakarta, the international police organisation Interpol and the former helmsman's lawyer in the search and are confident Rusli Bin will be found in time for the next court hearing, scheduled for April.

"A man can't just disappear like that," said former captain Schettino, who was in command of the cruise liner when it hit rocks and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32.

"He must have an identity, a credit card, he must be somewhere. The helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin can also help us establish the truth of what happened," he continued. Dubbed "captain coward" by the media for allegedly abandoning ship without overseeing the evacuation, Schettino is currently on trial in Grosseto on charges of multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty.

However, he has blamed Rusli Bin for failing to follow his orders correctly, allegedly causing the ship to crash into rocks following a risky 'salute' manoeuvre.

Schettino's five co-defendants, including Rusli Bin, received minor sentences after a plea-bargain last summer.