Reportedly, just minutes before Costa Concordia cruise ship accident at around 9.40pm on 13 January, Captain Francesco Schettino was having an intimate dinner with a blonde and young girl. Days after investigation, divers found some pieces of bikini and clothing on Francesco Schettino’s cabin which is believed to belong to the same blonde lady.
The blonde woman is identified as a 25-year-old Moldovan former dancer and crew member Domnica Cemortan who reportedly did not appear on any official manifest for the Costa Concordia. She later told Italian investigators that she was on the bridge as a "guest" of the captain at the time of the crash. While Ms Cemortan is not accused of any offence, Francesco Verusio, the chief prosecutor in the case, believes her testimony would be key in establishing exactly what happened on the bridge that night and whether the captain was distracted.
The mother-of-one Domnica Cemortan poses during an interview with Adevarul Chisinau newspaper in Chisinau on 16 January 2012. The Moldovan woman is as a key witness over the role of the captain of the doomed Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia
Moldovan-born Miss Cemortan was interviewed for nearly six hours on Wednesday by prosecutors in a police station in Grosseto, Tuscany after divers had found some of her belongings in Capt Francesco Schettino's cabin
The 25-year-old mother of two has admitted that she is falling for the captain despite him having a wife and a teenage daughter. She stated, “I love him, and it's not right to destroy his reputation” and added, “I was on the bridge because I was in love with the captain. I found him charming and fascinating. I love him”
Passengers claimed that the Moldovan was enjoying dinner with Capt Schettino with prawn cocktail, shrimp pasta, grilled fish and red wine before the two got into “high spirits” in the ship's finest restaurant, the Concordia Club, on the night of the disaster
The 114,000 ton Concordia, packed with 4,200 passengers and crew, rammed into rocks on Friday January 13 and left 17 dead and 15 missing. Despite the fact that Captain Francesco was one of the first to be off the coast, Domnica still insisted, “Captain Coward' is a hero. He did a great thing, he saved over 3000 lives”
Her revelations came into light as some Concordia crew members described the close romance with Schettino on Facebook in the days after the disaster
Following the tragic accident, Miss Cemortan was one of the first off the ship and in an interview with a Moldovan TV station
Capt Schettino is currently under house arrest
Miss Cemortan described the situation on Moldovan daily Adevarul, “All our colleagues made announcements in different languages because there was a problem with the electricity. It was very dark on the ship”
While Domnica claimed, “I bought my own ticket in Italy. I still have my cabin key in my pocket”, Italian media reported that Domnica did not have a cabin
Meanwhile, wife of disgraced Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino, Fabiola Russo, said, “My husband is at the centre of an unprecedented global media storm”. She also defended that her husband was turned into a “moster” by the media
Cruise disaster: Costa Concordia witness Domnica Cemortan defends captain Schettino