Today, another Costa Concordia crewmember testified that the cruise ship’s infamous captain was distracted and talking on the phone shortly before the vessel crashed.
Ciro Ambrosio was the first officer on the luxury liner at the time of the disaster on Jan. 13, 2012. He has plea bargained a sentence of one year and 11 months for multiple manslaughter in this case.
He told a Tuscan court that he was forced to communicate with hand gestures to Captain Francesco Schettino because the commander was conversing on the phone. According to the Washington Post, Ambrosio said he was off duty but took the helm and gave orders to the helmsman because Schettino was “distracted.” Schettino was reportedly speaking to retired Costa captain Mario Palombo, who advised him to distance the ship from the shore.
Recordings from the night of the disaster were also played in the courtroom from the ship's black box. Comments revealed that crewmembers feared running aground before impact.
Prosecutors say the Concordia struck a reef because it sailed too close to Giglio Island. Schettino continues to oppose this accusation, stating that the reef wasn’t on the Concordia’s nautical maps.
The captain is standing trial now - accused of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship. 32 lives were lost in this incident.