The Costa Concordia cruise ship tragedy will long remain in disgrace because there was a “sexy siren” on the bridge and a captain “slipped, fell into a lifeboat” as his passengers drowned
Captain Francesco Schettino had it all.
The 52-year-old was blessed with Italian good looks, a wife, a daughter and was in charge of the gleaming £370million cruise ship Costa Concordia.
He also had a beautiful 26-year-old Moldovan girlfriend who would join him in his cabin for secret nightly sex sessions. What could possibly go wrong?
The answer? Everything.
Schettino would soon be condemned as a coward and jailed for manslaughter after 32 people died when his ship partially sank on January 13, 2012.
Dancer Domnica Cemortan met Schettino in December 2011 when she took a job as a flight guide and translator for Russian passengers.
When she met the captain, the attraction was instantaneous. He was soon bombarding her with calls and emails.
The Mirror reports that kisses in his office soon resulted in her sneaking into his cubicle in the middle of the night to secretly have sex hours before his shift.
The following month he invited her on board as a non-paying customer, and what better way to impress her than to invite her onto the bridge when the ship deviated from its route and was sailing close to shore.
On previous occasions, Schettino had performed “sail-bys” on the island of Giglio, where a number of crew members were from.
On January 13, 2012, he decided to do it again in the dark. He wasn’t even wearing his glasses and had to ask other officers to check their position on the radar.
The navigational warning system was turned off and soon the ship was 300 meters from shore instead of the five miles it should have been. Things got pear shaped. Fast.
With his “blonde siren” nearby, Schettino suddenly noticed waves breaking on rocks in front of him. Order a hard turn, it was too late.
The rocks tore a 230-foot (70-meter) crack in the ship’s side, and water soon flooded the engine room. The ship began to capsize.
And it would get worse.
It took an hour for emergency services ashore to be properly notified of a disaster. The ship’s alarm was not sounded immediately and there was a delay and then chaos as attempts were made to lower the lifeboats. The passengers soon jumped off the ship to try to swim to shore
Surely this was the time for the black Schettino to come forward and make sure everyone was saved? After all, captains are usually the last people to leave sinking ships.
No, Schettino later told Italian courts that he slipped, fell into a lifeboat, couldn’t get out and was blown helplessly ashore.
In one famous recorded call, a Coast Guard officer can be heard yelling at Schettino, “Put that shit back on board, you damned.”
He never did.
As water rushed into the huge ship, Domnica managed to climb into a lifeboat, but later told reporters she nearly died when the ship began to fall on it “like something out of a disaster movie.”
A total of 32 people died out of the 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew members.
An investigation was soon launched. Domnica initially denied they were having an affair.
However, investigators later found her lingerie in his cubicle and during his trial she was warned that she could be imprisoned if she lied.
She finally admitted the truth, later saying, “I was on the bridge because I was in love with the captain. I found him charming and fascinating. I loved him.”