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Costa refutes press reports that it was aware of intended ‘salute’ to Giglio

Costa refutes press reports that it was aware of intended ‘salute’ to Giglio

Costa Crociere has strongly rebutted Italian press reports that it was aware in advance that the Costa Concordia would make a ‘salute’ to the island of Giglio as it passed on its fateful last voyage on January 13.

Responding to a story in the Turin daily La Stampa that was picked up by other news outlets, Costa claimed in a statement that ‘as has emerged clearly from analyses of the black box, the suggestion that the company was aware of the route followed by Captain Schettino is completely without foundation.’

It added that ‘in fact, the black box demonstrates that the route decided upon in Civitavecchia on the afternoon of January 13 was a routine and completely safe choice (that would have taken the ship five miles from the island). Captain Schettino later decided on his own initiative to modify the route but neglected to inform the company.’

The story in La Stampa reported alleged conversations between Schettino and his officers which it claimed began shortly after the departure from Civitavecchia and in which the participants appear to be aware of the intention to ‘salute’ Giglio. The conversations were reportedly recorded by the ship’s black box, the analysis of which is due to be passed shortly to magistrates investigating the disaster.

The recordings also appear to show a commander in a state of desperation in the immediate aftermath of the Concordia’s collision with the rocks off Giglio and in denial thereafter, failing to communicate the true extent of the damage to the ship to the Coast Guard and company officials. Schettino’s lawyer has described the remarks reported by La Stampa as ‘taken out of context’.

In its statement, Costa pointedly described the allegations of its foreknowledge of the ‘salute’ to Giglio as ‘not only erroneous but damaging to the image of the company and potentially highly damaging in economic terms.’

Costa also noted that ‘the planning of the voyage is the exclusive responsibility of the captain, who also has the responsibility of keeping the authorities informed of any changes, and communicating any and all messages.

‘But what counts most is that, a few minutes before the incident, specifically at 21.39, Captain Schettino took personal command of the manouveur, giving orders to the helmsman that resulted in a further change of course, which again was not communicated to the company, and that that took the ship much closer to Giglio and on an unsafe route, thereby causing the incident.'

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