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Costa Chairman Says Concordia Captain Didn’t Tell Truth

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Francesco Schettino
Captain Francesco Schettino of the cruise ship Costa Concordia in July 2008. Source: Photonews via Getty Images

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Costa Crociere SpA Chairman Pier Luigi Foschi said Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia vessel that ran aground off the coast of Italy last week, didn’t tell the Carnival Corp. unit the truth.

“Normally, we evaluate the situation and if necessary we can give advice,” Foschi said in an interview with Italian state television channel Rai late yesterday. “This time we didn’t get to give advice because what the captain said in his 22:05 conversation didn’t correspond to the truth.”

The ship struck rocks late on Jan. 13 after Schettino deviated from the planned route and sailed close to the small island of Giglio, hours after the vessel left a port near Rome with 4,200 passengers and crew for a Mediterranean cruise.

Schettino told magistrates that he spoke to the person responsible for the crisis unit and asked for helicopters and tugboats because he thought the damage could be repaired, Corriere della Sera reported today.

“I am sure I informed him in real time of everything,” the newspaper cited Schettino as saying.

Schettino said he started to prepare for an evacuation and didn’t want to cause panic, according to Corriere. Schettino also told magistrates he thought the vessel would be pushed closer to the shore where it would have been easier to disembark, the daily newspaper reported.

Schettino Suspended

Costa Crociere suspended Schettino, who was placed under house arrest on Jan. 17 for allegedly causing the shipwreck. A woman’s body was found about 1:30 p.m. local time, bringing the death toll to 12, while 20 are still missing, SkyTG24 reported today.

Schettino’s lawyer and Francesco Verusio, the chief prosecutor of Grosseto who is investigating the accident, didn’t answer calls today seeking comment. Costa Crociere declined to add to Foschi’s remarks on television yesterday.

Environment Minister Corrado Clini said there remains a risk that the 290-meter (951-feet) long ship, which is lying in an unsteady position, will slip off an underwater ledge and sink into a 70-meter-deep trough. That might rupture the vessel’s fuel tanks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Armorel Kenna in Milan at akenna@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Marley at smarley1@bloomberg.net

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