Concordia captain made admission: witness

An Italian court has heard the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship admitted to making a mess. (AAP)

The First Deck Officer of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia has given evidence that the captain admitted to making a mess after the ship ran aground.

The captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner ran his hands through his hair and said "I made a mess" after crashing against rocks following a risky manoeuvre, an Italian court has been told.

The Concordia ran aground and capsized near Giglio on January 13, 2012, killing 32 of the 4229 people on board. Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of having steered the ship close to the island to perform a stunt - a so-called "bow".

"I looked at the nautical map and I saw that we were ... close to Giglio's reefs," First Deck Officer Giovanni Iaccarino said.

"I looked at the panel and it was full of red lights.

"Then Commander Schettino ran his hands through his hair and said: 'I made a mess.'"

Iaccarino, who had been summoned by the prosecution, was the first of more than 1000 witnesses due to appear in a trial where the Costa Concordia captain is accused of manslaughter, abandoning ship and other serious crimes.

Schettino, who was present at the hearing, risks a jail term of up to 20 years, according to prosecutors. His lawyers retort that he is being made a scapegoat, while organisational and security shortcomings on the Concordia are overlooked.

Judges in Grosseto, central Italy, heard from Iaccarino that on the night of the disaster the captain ordered the crew to sail at a distance of half a nautical mile from Giglio, rather than the normal five nautical miles.

Schettino had wanted the Concordia to carry out the stunt off Giglio during another cruise seven days earlier, "but it was not possible because the conditions were not right, the sea was too rough and the idea was abandoned," Iaccarino said.

The officer said he was off duty, in his cabin, when the Concordia ran aground. He had been "playing at the PlayStation" with cartographer Simone Canessa, he told the court.

"I figured that we either had a collision or we had got stuck."

When the ship crashed, Iaccarino inspected the damaged engine room along with three other crew members. He said that Schettino did not react when they reported back to the bridge that the ship was no longer salvageable.

Source: AAP

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