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Concordia captain had dancer lover

The dancer who was on the bridge when the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit a reef killing 32 people, has admitted at the captain's manslaughter trial that they were lovers.

Domnica Cemortan also told the Italian court that she boarded as a non-paying passenger hours before the crash near the island of Giglio, saying "when you are someone's lover no one asks you for a ticket." She dismissed the remark as a joke to her translator.

Ms Cemortan said she had worked on the Concordia for three weeks in December 2011.

She tried to dodge the question of whether she was romantically involved with captain Francesco Schettino, and only responded positively after being told she risked criminal charges for refusing to reply.

Earlier the trial heard that the ship hit the reef after Schettino was disappointed at not getting close enough to it on an earlier attempt, his trial has been told.

Crew member Maitre d' Antonello Tievoli, who comes from the island of Giglio, said he asked the captain to make a close pass as a favour to his family who lived there.

Mr Tievoli said Schettino obliged on January 6 last year, but decided the Concordia had not been close enough and ordered his No. 2 officer to plot a closer route next time.

Exactly a week later, the Concordia smashed into the reef off Giglio and capsized. Schettino has blamed the helmsman for the botched manoeuvre.

-AP

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