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Costa: Concordia captain may have erred

Associated Press
Capt. Schettino - under arrest
Costa Crociere said Costa Concordia’s captain may have erred by sailing too close to shore and ‘in handling the emergency appears not to have followed standard Costa procedures.’ In its first detailed statement since Costa Concordia grounded near the Tuscan island of Giglio Friday night, triggering a mass evacuation as the ship quickly took on water from a huge gash in its hull, Costa late Sunday said it is working with investigators to find out what went wrong.

‘While the investigation is ongoing, preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s master, Capt. Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences,’ the statement said.

With the recovery of two bodies by divers, the number of deaths rose to five. Some 15 people remain missing.

The company stated that the vessel’s route ‘appears to have been too close to the shore, and in handling the emergency the captain appears not to have followed standard Costa procedures.’

Schettino, under arrest by Italian authorities, in news broadcasts on Sunday maintained the ship had been navigating far from any charted danger.

Costa noted that serious charges have been leveled against Schettino, who joined the line in 2002 as a safety officer and was appointed captain in 2006.

The company also disclosed it has engaged a top specialized salvage company to develop an action plan and help establish a protection perimeter around the Costa Concordia to prevent environmental damage. The ship is resting on its starboard side.

Costa also stated that the Italian prosecutor has seized control of the ship and the black box containing all its navigation data, and the company can access the vessel only with permission form the authorities.

Costa said ‘it is becoming clear that the crew of the Costa Concordia acted bravely and swiftly to help evacuate more than 4,000 individuals during a very challenging situation. We are very grateful for all they have done.’

The company added that it is ‘deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected.’

Costa said more than 1,100 employees have been working tirelessly over the past 48 hours to cope with the aftermath of this ‘terrible event.’ Their efforts include supporting on-going search and rescue operations while also ensuring that passengers and crew return home safely.

The statement added: ‘Costa is committed to ensuring that no such incident ever occurs again.’