- (Photo: REUTERS/Italian Guardia di Finanza)
A Moldovan dancer revealed she was on the bridge of the Costa Concordia cruise liner with Captain Francesco Schettino when it ran aground and capsized nearly two years ago.
Domnica Cemortan had denied any type of a relationship with Schettino, but did tell an Italian court that the two did have an intimate liaison with each other.
Schettino is currently on trial and facing multiple charges including manslaughter and prosecutors are hoping that her confession will lead to questions regarding quality of her testimony.
Cemortan has described Schettino as a "hero" and has said he deserved gratitude for bringing the ship nearer to shore rather than letting it sink out at sea.
The trial is being held in the Tuscan city of Grosseto given the intense media attention for this case. The trial started again last month after engineers were able to raise the stranded ship upright.
Four crew members and an official of the ship operator Costa Cruises, a division of Carnival Corp, have already been sentenced to up to 34 months in prison after pleading guilty last year.
Schettino is the only member of the crew to go to trial. In addition to manslaughter, Schettino also faces charges of causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.
The accident occurred after Schettino took the cruise ship off course with passengers and crewmembers coming close to the Tuscan island of Giglio, where it struck a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The gash on the side of the ship flooded the engine rooms and caused the ship to capsize just hours after it had left port.
Costa Concordia passengers who survived the wreck as well as victims' loved ones have attended the court hearings and are seeking compensation.
"We want to look him in the eyes and see how he will react to the accusations," one survivor, Michael Liessen of Germany, told Yahoo News.