Dancer on bridge of Costa Concordia at time of collision
Woman tells court she did not need ticket to board ship as she and captain were ‘lovers’
The severely damaged side of the stricken Costa Concordia is visible after the parbuckling salvage operation successfully uprighted the ship on September 17th in Isola del Giglio, Italy. Photograph: Marco Secchi/Getty Images.
The dancer who was on the bridge when the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit a reef killing 32 people, has admitted at the captain’s manslaughter trial that they were lovers.
Domnica Cemortan also told the Italian court that she boarded as a non-paying passenger hours before the crash near the island of Giglio, saying “when you are someone’s lover no one asks you for a ticket.” She dismissed the remark as a joke to her translator.
Ms Cemortan said she had worked on the Concordia for three weeks in December 2011.
She tried to dodge the question of whether she was romantically involved with captain Francesco Schettino, and only responded positively after being told she risked criminal charges for refusing to reply.
Earlier, the trial heard that the ship hit the reef after Mr Schettino was disappointed at not getting close enough to it on an earlier attempt, his trial has been told.
Crew member Maitre d’ Antonello Tievoli, who comes from the island of Giglio, said he asked the captain to make a close pass as a favour to his family who lived there.
Mr Tievoli said Mr Schettino obliged on January 6th last year, but decided the Concordia had not been close enough and ordered his number two officer to plot a closer route next time.
Exactly a week later, the Concordia smashed into the reef off Giglio and capsized. Mr Schettino has blamed the helmsman for the botched manoeuvre.