Italy’s cruise ship captain ‘was like a Ferrari driver’

January 18th, 2012 - 11:42 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 18 (IANS) Francesco Schettino, the captain of an Italian cruise ship who allegedly crashed his luxury liner into rocks off the island of Giglio has been accused of skippering the ship “like a Ferrari” driver, a media report said Wednesday.

“If I had to make a comparison, we got the impression that he would drive a bus like a Ferrari,” Martino Pellegrino, one of the officers on board the Costa Concordia, told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

Salvage work was expected to begin on the ship later Wednesday, as hopes faded that any more survivors would be rescued, the Telegraph reported.

The search was suspended early Wednesday morning after the ship shifted on the rock. Twenty-four people remain missing, while 11 people have so far been found dead.

Pellegrino said captain Schettino was an “authoritarian” who was often “inflexible” in the way he commanded the giant liner as it cruised the Mediterranean.

The captain’s sister, Giulia Schettino, said he had been unfairly subjected to “mud-slinging” and the accusations against him had not yet been proved.

Italians have been transfixed by the release of dramatic audio tapes in which furious Coast Guard officials questioned why he was in a lifeboat rather than commanding the evacuation of 4,200 passengers and crew once it ran aground, the Telegraph reported.

Schettino has been held in custody in prison in Grosseto, in Tuscany, since being arrested Saturday, hours after the giant cruise ship ran aground on Giglio.

A judge, Valeria Montesarchio, ruled that he should be allowed to remain under house arrest as he awaits trial on accusations of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship.

The 52-year-old captain denied the allegations through his lawyer.

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