Blame has been placed squarely on the captain’s shoulders for the cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy Friday.
The owners of the cruise ship alleged that the captain made “errors of judgment,” according to reports.
At least six people died in the incident the owners are saying was caused by an unauthorized, unapproved deviation from the approved course.
The captain is being investigated on manslaughter charges and violations of Italian navigation code, amid allegations he abandoned the ship before all the passengers were safe.
The search has been suspended Monday due to bad weather. Rescuers reportedly heard sounds coming from the ship, but were unable to determine its cause.
The ship is owned by Costa Crociere and is part of the large Carnival, Corp. fleet.
Costa Crociere CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, deviated from the approved course, leading to the deadly accident.
“This route was put in correctly. The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a maneuver by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorized and unknown to Costa,” he said.
The captain denies the charges that he abandoned ship, maintaining he did everything in his control to save the lives of passengers.
“We were the last ones to leave the ship,” Schettino said.
Meanwhile, Foschi has dismissed worries of pollution stemming from leaking fuel.
“There are no signs of pollution,” Foschi stated.
The ship had 500,000 gallons of fuel in 17 different fuel tanks on board the vessel, according to reports. Officials, however, are on high alert and are monitoring the ship in case it shifts due to the inclement weather.
The ship evacuated the 4,200 people onboard when it ran into a reef Friday and capsized. Six bodies have been recovered, but 16 people are still missing.
It is unclear when search and rescue efforts will resume.