The captain of a 130-metre cargo ship that hit rocks in Messina on the Sicilian coast at the weekend dozed off with the ship on autopilot, it emerged yesterday.
Under interrogation by magistrates, the commander of the Hc Rubina – 41-year-old Ukrainian Sergy Kryvodud – said he only awoke when the vessel was too close to shore to avoid a collision.
The ship is grounded, yards from people's homes, in the port's Ganzirri district. Warnings from the coast guard, which detected the ship's approach on Saturday night, were initially ignored. When Mr Kryvodud woke there was only time to slow the ship and reduce the impact. He is suspected by prosecutors of causing a shipwreck and violating marine law.
Two months ago the Costa Concordia liner hit rocks off the Tuscan islands of Giglio with the loss of 32 lives. It was reported yesterday that the Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino is planning to write a book which will give his version of the disaster.