11 Jul 2012

Costa Concordia captain apologises for disaster

7:48 pm on 11 July 2012

The captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground killing more than 30 people, has apologised for the disaster.

The ship struck rocks and capsized near the island of Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany, on 13 January this year.

The 114,500-tonne vessel, carrying 4200 passengers and crew, had its hull ripped open just hours after leaving the port of Civitavecchia for a week-long Mediterranean cruise.

Some people were forced to swim for shore as the angle of the ship made launching lifeboats impossible.

In an interview on Italian TV, Francesco Schettino said he thinks constantly about the victims, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

However, he insists that others should share the blame, saying the ship had been under the command of another officer at the time.

Mr Schettino denies charges including manslaughter and causing a shipwreck.

Following the accident, there was speculation that the captain had sailed too close to the island because he was trying to show off his seamanship skills to a young woman on the ship's bridge.

Mr Schettino denied this, and also denied that the woman had been his lover.