The owner of the Costa Concordia says the captain deviated from the plotted course without authorization, causing the cruise ship to strike a reef and capsize Friday off Italy’s west coast.
“Capt. [Fransesco] Schettino took an initiative of his own will, which is contrary to our written rules of conduct,” Costa Crociere SpA chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi told the Associated Press.
Sixteen passengers were still unaccounted for as of Monday morning, according to the AP; 4,200 passengers had evacuated the 1,000-foot ship. Six have been confirmed dead.
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Foschi said Costa ships have programmed routes, and alarms sound when they deviate. The alarms are disabled if the course is manually altered, he said.
Click play for footage of passengers awaiting instructions to abandon ship.
The ship suffered a 160-foot hull breach when it struck the reef off the island of Giglio. Operations were suspended Monday for fear that the ship's 500,000 gallons of fuel could spill in an area that’s a protected sanctuary.
Island residents said they had never seen the ship, which passes the Tuscan coast weekly, come so close to the reef, according to the AP.