Francesco Shetino, captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which aimed its ship at rocks on Friday, killing 11 people, has been placed under house arrest by Italian judges.
Prosecutors say Francesco Schetino caused the accident through negligence and then fled the Costa Concordia while passengers were still stranded.
A recording of a conversation between Captain Francesco Shetino and a port officer shortly after the crash appears to support some of the prosecutors’ allegations.
Captain Francesco Sketino denies the allegations.
Local authorities say 20 passengers are still missing. These include people from Germany, Italy, France and the United States.
Four crew members – one each from Italy, Hungary, India and Peru – are also missing.
In the recording, published by the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the head of the Livorno port administration, Gregorio de Falco, could be heard repeatedly telling the captain to return aboard the ship to help stranded passengers.
“Sethino, you may have escaped the sea, but I will certainly cause you trouble.” Get on board says Gregorio De Falco.
Francesco Shetino seems to refuse, answering first that there are already lifeguards on board, and then it is dark and difficult to see.
Gregorio De Falco answers: “Do you want to go home, Szczecin?” It’s dark, so you want to go home? “
The Coast Guard believes he never returned to the ship. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested and has been held in prison ever since.
But during a court hearing on Tuesday, Francesco Shetino said he could not board the ship because it was lying on its side.
He claims that after hitting stones, he performed a difficult maneuver that saved the lives of many people.
Francesco Shetino’s lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, later said the judge had decided to release the captain from prison and place him under house arrest.
Prosecutor Francesco Verusio, who said Captain Francesco Chetino posed a flight risk, said he did not understand the decision.
“I want to read the reasoning,” he said.
Meanwhile, rescuers found six more bodies in the wreckage of the ship on Tuesday, bringing confirmed casualties to 11.
“The five victims are a woman and four men who could be passengers, but we’re not sure.” said Coast Guard spokesman Filippo Marini.
He added that the dead were between 50 and 60 years old and were wearing life jackets.
The bodies were found near one of the assembly points, where people were told to gather in an emergency.
Authorities are also struggling to avoid an environmental disaster amid fears that the cruise ship’s fuel tanks could collapse and throw thousands of tons of diesel into the sea.
Specialized rescue teams have been set up to start pumping fuel in the coming days.
The ship, carrying 4,200 passengers and crew, had a torn hull when it crashed into rocks late Friday, just hours after leaving the port of Civitavecchia for a week-long Mediterranean cruise.
Some people were forced to swim ashore because the ship’s angle made it impossible to launch lifeboats.
Infrared footage taken by a helicopter shows rows of people climbing ropes on the ship’s open hull to reach lifeboats on the water.
On Monday, the ship’s newspaper Lloyd’s List said it had been able to track the course of the Costa Concordia through satellite information.
Lloyd’s List has published a chart comparing Friday’s voyage with an earlier voyage from the ship, suggesting that Friday’s route deviated far from its normal course.