20 Jan 2012

Passengers told not to worry as ship takes on water

9:14 pm on 20 January 2012

A video has emerged showing the crew of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia reassuring passengers nothing was wrong after the vessel had begun taking in water.

In the amateur footage, a crew member says "everything is under control" and a generator problem will be fixed. She asks passengers to go to their cabins, the BBC reports.

The vessel ran aground near the island of Giglio off Italy's west coast with about 4200 passengers and crew on board and capsized last Friday night. At least 11 people have been confirmed dead and 21 are still missing.

It is thought the delay in deciding to abandon the 114,500-tonne ship may have cost lives.

Rescue workers suspended their search after the ship moved again on Friday. The seas around the island were choppy and the weather was predicted to worsen overnight.

Earlier, Italian media broadcast what they say was the first phone conversation between port officials and crew of the Costa Concordia - about 30 minutes after the ship hit rocks.

In the exchange, a crew member is heard saying it is experiencing only a blackout.

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest on suspicion of multiple manslaughter. Prosecutors have also accused him of fleeing the ship before the evacuation was complete. He denies the allegations.