14 Sep 2012

Cruise captain blamed for sinking

10:06 pm on 14 September 2012

A report into the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy earlier this year has put most of the blame on its captain.

When the ship hit rocks and sank off the island of Giglio on January 13, 32 of the 4229 people on board were killed, the ABC reports.

The pre-trial report, leaked in the Italian press, blames Captain Francesco Schettino for a risky manoeuvre which saw the cruise ship run aground on the Tuscan coast.

He is accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship. Eight other people are under investigation for the shipwreck.

Captain Schettino says his actions after the crash saved lives, but the report says the beaching of the ship was simply fortuitous.

It is also critical of the Costa firm's crisis coordinator, Roberto Ferrarini, who it says should have ordered the ship to be abandoned earlier.

The report said Mr Ferrarini "did not appear to have the real pulse of the conditions on the ship" despite having all the important information at his disposal after it hit the rocks.

The experts said that after Mr Ferrarini was informed by the captain that three compartments were flooded, "he should have promptly suggested to the captain to abandon the ship because its stability had been compromised".

The order finally came almost half an hour after Mr Ferrarini was informed.

The report also says crew members were unprepared for emergencies and language barriers were a problem, particularly between the captain and the Indonesian helmsman who at one point before the crash appeared to veer to the right despite being told to go left.

The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for October 15.