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article imageDancer admits at trial she was Costa Concordia's captain's lover

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 4, 2013 in World
The trial of Francesco Schettino, the captain of Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, has added a romantic element. Domnica Cemortan, a Moldovan dancer, admitted at his trial that she was his lover, and was on the bridge when the ship hit a reef.
Since the Jan. 13, 2012 tragedy in which 32 people died, Cemortan has at various times told media she was his lover and told media that she was not his lover. At trial in Grosseto last week she admitted she had been the captain's lover since 2011.
She and Schettino, who is married, met on a previous cruise but on the cruise in which the disaster occurred she had only boarded hours before. She was not working as a dancer on the cruise, though she had worked the Costa Concordia on other cruises, but was Schettino's guest, she said.
The owner of the ship, Costa Cruises, said that Cemortan was an authorized passenger but she told the court she did not pay to board. "When you are someone's lover," she said. "No-one asks you for a ticket." She then tried to laugh off the remark and told her translator that it was only a joke.
Schettino to dancer: "Save yourself"
The now 26-year-old Cemortan was on the bridge when the 114,000 tonnes ship hit a reef and began taking on water. She told the court that as Schettino was dealing with the aftermath he told her to "save herself." After helping people off the ship and into lifeboats, she boarded a lifeboat and made it the island of Giglio, 300 metres away.
It's unclear what effect her testimony will have on Schettino's trial. The 53-year-old is charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship. If found guilty he would face up to 20 years in prison.
In September, two companies, Titan Salvage of America and Micoperi of Italy, righted the ship, which had listed over with 65 percent of her underwater. The plan now is to tow it to an Italian port in the spring, likely the port at Piombino, where it will be scrapped.
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