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March 23, 2023

Italian cruise ship captain ‘off course,’ death toll at 6

ROME – The CEO of Costa Cruises, the owner of the ship that ran aground off Italy, says the captain made an “unapproved, unauthorised” deviation in course, BBC News reports. Capt Francesco Schettino is suspected of manslaughter, but denies wrongdoing.

Six people were killed and about 15 remain missing after the hull of the Costa Concordia was torn open by rocks late on Friday off the Tuscan coast.

The search for survivors has temporarily been suspended after the ship slipped in rough weather. “The company will be close to the captain and will provide him with all the necessary assistance, but we need to acknowledge the facts and we cannot deny human error,” Costa Cruises Chief Executive Officer Pier Luigi Foschi told a news conference in Genoa.

Foschi said Costa’s ships have their routes programmed and alarms sound when they go off course. “This route was put in correctly,” he said. “The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a manoeuvre by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorised and unknown to Costa.’’ He said the ship was regularly inspected and had had a major check in November last year.

Earlier, Costa Cruises said Capt Schettino had appeared to sail too close to land. Italian media have suggested he may have been taking the ship close to the Tuscan island of Giglio to put on a show for the islanders.

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