Costa Captain: Bosses Made Me Perform 'Sail-Pasts'
Costa Cruise captains do them for publicity: Schettino
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2012 2:42 PM CST
In this photo taken on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, Francesco Schettino, right, is taken into custody by Carabinieri in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy.   (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili)

(Newser) – The captain of Costa Concordia insists his bosses ordered him to sail close to land for publicity-boosting "salutes," the Telegraph reports. Sparking a war of words with Costa Cruises, Captain Francesco Schettino says that "Costa was aware of the frequent practise of cruise ships performing sail- pasts. The 'salute' to Giglio had been planned and authorized before the Costa Concordia set off." Costa Cruises blames Schettino for recklessly sailing too close to land and inviting a disaster that has left 13 dead.

But Schettino told investigators that Costa ships perform sail-pasts "all around the world" near islands like Capri in the Bay of Naples. What's more, the cruise ship line is in hot water for offering Concordia passengers a full discount and 30% off their "next cruise": "It is a ridiculous and insulting offer," says one survivor. More than 100 passengers are planning to join a multi-million-dollar class action lawsuit against Costa Cruises in Miami tomorrow, according to another Telegraph story.