Was Ship Captain Showing Off for Pal Onshore?

Costa Concordia's captain insists waters were marked safe
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2012 3:55 AM CST
Probers Believe Ship Captain Was Showing Off for Pal Onshore
The Costa Concordia cruiseship lies yesterday in the harbor of the Tuscan island of Giglio after it ran aground and keeled over off.   (Getty Images)

Was the Costa Concordia's captain showing off when he ran the ship aground off the coast of Giglio island? Investigators believe Captain Francesco Schettino may have ordered the ship too close to the island to greet someone on shore, reports the Telegraph. "Schettino approached the island of Giglio in a carelessly clumsy manner," said prosecutor Franco Verusio. "He was the one who ordered that course to be taken. There was someone in particular that wanted to be signaled from the ship." It was likely an officer from the Italian merchant navy who was friendly with those on the Concordia, according to the Daily Mail.

The captain apparently tried a similar stunt last August, sounding the ship's whistle as he passed close to shore, causing the local mayor to email the captain to thank him for providing a "spectacle to tourists" and "fantastic entertainment." Schettino has reportedly insisted that the waters close to Giglio are safe, and the rocks he hit are not listed on any navigational charts—a claim locals say is nonsense, as the dangers are well known. The death toll is now at six. (More Costa Concordia stories.)

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