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Originally published Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 6:54 PM

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Woman on crashed Concordia admits to being captain’s lover

A Moldovan woman acknowledged in court Tuesday that she was the lover of the Italian captain who crashed the Costa Concordia cruise liner last year, in an accident that killed 32 people.


Deutsche Presse-Agentur and The Associated Press

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ROME — A Moldovan woman acknowledged in court Tuesday that she was the lover of the Italian captain who crashed the Costa Concordia cruise liner last year, in an accident that killed 32 people.

In the aftermath of the Jan. 13, 2012, shipwreck, questions were asked about the presence on board of 26-year-old Domnica Cemortan, who was not officially registered among the passengers, but whose belongings were found in the cabin of the Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino.

Schettino is being tried for manslaughter and other serious crimes in Grosseto, Italy near the Tuscan coast where the ship ran aground.

Heads in the courtroom turned Tuesday when Cemortan strode in wearing high-heeled pumps and a figure-hugging black top and skirt.

Asked why she was not officially registered, she replied: “When you are someone’s lover, they don’t ask you for a ticket.”

As she testified, Schettino, who is married, sat at the defense table making a series of classic Italian hand gestures indicating incredulity.

Earlier, head waiter Antonello Tievoli told the court that he had asked Schettino, as a favor, to steer the Concordia closer to Giglio, so that he could say hello to his family living on the island.

When the Concordia rammed into the reef the night of Jan. 13, gashing its hull and quickly taking on water, many of the passengers were enjoying a gala supper. Cemortan said she had dined at the captain’s table with him, and he told crew to slow down the ship so he could have dessert before taking the helm near Giglio. They both were on the bridge at the time of the crash.

“I did not see anything because it was dark, then there was silence and he started to give orders in nautical terms, and I heard from an officer that one of the captain’s orders had been mishandled. The captain grumbled and repeated the order. After a few minutes, it happened,” she said.

Cemortan testified that she dashed into Schettino’s private cabin to change clothes.

Cemortan told the court Schettino told her immediately after the crash to take good care of a high-ranking crew member who is the brother of the former director-general of Costa Crociere, the Italian cruise line. She testified that the crew member, Ciro Onorato, pushed her onto a lifeboat.

Schettino left aboard a lifeboat while helicopters plucked survivors from the capsized ship. Many other passengers jumped into the sea and some drowned.



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