Costa Concordia trial: Dancer Domnica Cemortan admits Captain Francesco Schettino was her lover and tells court she was on ship's bridge when it capsized - Europe - World - The Independent

Costa Concordia trial: Dancer Domnica Cemortan admits Captain Francesco Schettino was her lover and tells court she was on ship's bridge when it capsized

 

Milan

Captain Francesco Schettino, the man accused of causing the Costa Concordia disaster, was entertaining his young lover – against the rules – on the ship’s bridge when the giant vessel struck a reef off the Italian coast, it emerged.

His former lover, the Moldavian dancer Domnica Cemortan, 26, admitted to an Italian court she was having an affair with the married 53-year-old captain, who is accused of allowing his showboating behaviour to cost the lives of 32 people after the giant vessel partially capsized off the island of Giglio in January 2012.

Prosecutors have alleged that the large number of superfluous people on the bridge at the time of the collision, particularly the presence of Ms Cemortan, “generated confusion and distraction for the captain”.

Previously, Ms Cemortan has said she had only been called up to the ship’s bridge after the accident in order to translate vital information that officers wanted to relay to Russian passengers.

However, under sustained questioning by a lawyer representing victims of the disaster, and after being threatened with contempt of court by the judge, Ms Cemortan said: “Yes I had an affair with the captain.” She also admitted through her interpreter that she was not on the official passenger list and was not in possession of a ticket, noting that her relationship with the captain had allowed her on board.

Captain Schettino, who has blamed his helmsman for the collision, is on trial for multiple manslaughter and causing a shipwreck.

The court heard that Captain Schettino had made a similar sail-by, very close to the island off the Tuscan coast, a week before the accident.

Antonello Tievoli, a ship’s waiter, said he had asked the captain to sail close to Giglio to salute his family who lived there. “The night of 6 January, I asked the commander if he could move closer to the island than usual, since we were still in the Christmas holidays. And he agreed, but was not satisfied with the distance. He thought it wasn’t close enough. He asked his second in command Ciro Ambrosio to repeat it the following week.”

Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino (AP) Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino (AP)

Ms Cemortan has defended Captain Schettino’s actions after the crash, portraying him as an officer in control of the situation. This notion was undermined, however, by the emergence of a video suggesting the reaction of officers on the bridge after the collision veered from initial complacency to panic.

Another of the ship’s waiting staff, Ciro Onorato, who had been invited to the bridge on the night of the crash, told the court that he went back down to the restaurant to help the passengers, but was then recalled to the bridge by Captain Schettino, who was already wearing a life jacket over his uniform. The captain told him: “Don’t leave me.”

Captain Schettino is also charged with abandoning ship before his passengers. He claims he slipped and fell into a lifeboat from which he was unable to extract himself.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week