According to the Guardian, Francesco Schettino who was accused of collision the Costa Concordia into rocks trying to “salute” the island, has reportedly said he was ordered to carry out the maneuver by ship owner Costa Crociere.
“The salute at Giglio on 13 January was planned and wanted by Costa before the departure from Civitavecchia,” Schettino, who is under house arrest accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, told a judge.
The captain added the firm insisted on carrying out such manoeuvres, because it was a good way to promote its cruises.
“Costa was aware of the repeated practice of ‘saluting’ around the world,” said Schettino.
Such announcement contradicts Pier Luigi Foschi, the chief executive of Costa Crociere, who said last week: “I can’t exclude that ships have been sailed closer to land on the initiative of some captains without informing us.”
He added: “But I have never been aware of this taking place in an unsafe manner.” One law firm said: “It’s too easy to say this captain acted alone.”
However, Costa Crociere refused to comment on the recent accusations on Sunday: “Costa Crociere will not be commenting on any aspect of the ongoing judicial proceedings.”
At least 13 people died trying to rescue from the vessel. The death toll was raised as a woman’s body was found on Sunday afternoon.
The latest victim was wearing a life vest and was found on the ship’s seventh deck about 10 meters below the water line.
Eight out of 13 bodies found after the collision have been identified. Five other corpses are badly decomposed after spending a long time in the water and it’s difficult to find the identity.
3 News says, eight dead were four French, an Italian, a Hungarian, a German and a Spanish national.
Before the body was found, there were at least 20 people missing, reports the Independent.
The woman, whose body hasn’t been identified yet, may be a Hungarian who was considered to be missing but was not on the embarkation list of the ship, Franco Gabrielli from the Civil Protection Agency told reporters.
“There could have been X persons who we don’t know about who were inside, who were clandestine passengers,” said Gabrielli.
“Passengers might have been invited on board by a crew member at the last minute,” said Francesca Maffini, Mr Gabrielli’s spokesman.
Gabrielli also said that relatives of a Hungarian woman told the authorities that she had telephoned them from aboard the ship and that they haven’t heard from her since the accident.
As the Telegraph reveals, the claims about illegal passengers mystified Phil Davies, a cruise expert, saying: “Manifests are put together well in advance of the voyage, detailing the number of passengers and crew. It would by highly unusual for someone to be on board without the company knowing who they were.”
“Passengers have a card which doubles up as a key for the cabin and also acts as security for getting on and off the ship. You need to have the card with you,” he added.
“Also as soon as you get on board they will take your photo. There are two gangways, you cannot just sneak somebody on board. The other thing is that cruise ships are a cashless society, everything is charged to the card. The whole thing is a mystery to me.”