Costa Concordia captain waited an hour before giving order to abandon ship

Costa Concordia captain waited hour until giving order to abanon ship, cruise, costa, italyThe Costa Concordia shipwreck. PA

The investigation into the January 13 Costa Concordia disaster off the island of Giglio in Italy has revealed new evidence from a 1,000-page dossier written by a panel of experts that rules there was 'an almost complete omission of the entire sequence of (emergency) messages that should have been expected'.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the report stated that passengers were left unaware of how serious the situation was and were not told to put on their life jackets.

The cruise ship hit a rocky reef at 9.45pm but it wasn't until 10.51pm that Captain Francesco Schettino gave the order to abandon ship.

By this time, some crew members and passengers had already decided to climb into the lifeboats in a scene of panic and chaos.

An Italian admiral led the panel, which said the ship was travelling at 15.4 knots as it drew close to Giglio to perform a sail-fast - a manoeuvre that requires slower movement.

When the ship smashed into the reef and tore a 160ft-long gash in its hull, Capt. Schettino immediately ordered the speed to be cut to six knots. But by then water was flooding into the engine rooms.

The dossier read: 'The ship was sailing a route that went too close to the coast, at an elevated speed, and to make matters worse, in the hours of darkness.'

Investigating magistrate for the case, Valeria Montesarchio, was handed the report, which will be discussed at the next pre-trial hearing on 15 October in Grosseto.

There are 50 main points addressed in the dossier, including the crew's actions before and after the collision, the ship's route and its design.

Capt. Schettino is being investigated on charges for manslaughter with 32 people killed, abandoning ship and failing to communicate with maritime authorities.

The Daily Telegraph reports how Schettino's lawyers believe their client will be cleared if the case goes to trial.

Italian and American salvage companies are working to float the ship and tow it to port so it can be cut up for scrap and are hoping to do this by spring, in time for the summer tourist season.

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