As the investigation into the Costa Concordia cruise ship accident thickens, new recordings from the ship’s black box contradict the ship’s captain, Franceso Schettino, and his claims that the shipwreck was not his fault. As the black box data has been recovered and played, there is evidence that Schettino disabled autopilot for the ship and took control on his own at 9:39pm, just minutes before the accident occurred at 9:45pm. The data that contradicts Schettino’s statements will be presented in court on July 21.
Schettino alleged that he was at dinner aboard the ship with friends and then went to the bridge to instruct a junior officer to direct navigation. He says that he then took a phone call and was “distracted,” and that he didn’t have command.
What ensued is a story that has a tragic ending. The ship sailed close along Giglio, so close that officers on the bridge were panicked and stated that they had hit a reef . The proximity to Giglio is apparently because Schettino wanted to salute for his former colleague as he passed, a move which took the ship off course. Schettino called emergency dispatch for Costa and said that he had made a mistake.
Schettino is under investigation for manslaughter (multiple counts), abandoning the ship before it was fully evacuated, and failing to communicate with authorities.