Naples

Moldavian dancer defends Costa cruise captain

'His orders were misinterpreted'

Moldavian dancer defends Costa cruise captain

Naples, June 28 - A Moldavian dancer on the deck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed and killed 32 people off the coast of Tuscany last year defended the captain Friday. Speaking to Italian television, Domnica Cemortan said the accident was caused by a misunderstanding over orders by the captain, Francesco Schettino. "It wasn't the captain who made the mistake. He knew what he was doing, and his orders had been made clear, but the last official on the chain of command misunderstood to the point that he had to repeat it," she said tearfully. "However, a few seconds later we crashed against the rocks of Giglio island. The dancer, who was reported to have been romantically involved with Schettino since her suitcase was found in his room, denies any personal involvement with the man. She said she had left her suitcase in the captain's office, which was in his cabin, while waiting to be assigned a cabin of her own as a Concordia worker. "Had I been his lover, my clothes would have been in his wardrobe, not in my suitcase," she said. Schettino has been charged with multiple manslaughter and dereliction of duty. His trial begins July 9.

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