Captain Francesco Schettino delayed calling rescue services after the Costa Concordia struck rocks, according to a radio operator on board the liner, a court heard this week.
Crew member Flavio Spadavecchia said he had “waited and waited” for Schettino to tell him to contact the coastguard, reported Sky News.
However, allegedly Schettino did not give the order and jeopardised the rescue operation.
The Concordia ran aground in February 2012 and 32 people lost their lives, after Schettino changed course in order to carry out a ‘sail-by salute’ of the Italian island of Giglio.
Mr Spadavecchia told the hearing that Schettino should have ordered the ‘pan pan’ message, the pre-cursor to a mayday call.
He said: “I asked if I should send it but Schettino said no. I asked at least once, maybe twice.”
He added that onboard officers had said that there had been a blackout and that apparently the emergency power generators had broken following the impact with the rocks. Staff had to use screwdrivers to make them work, the court heard.
Schettino denies the charges and blames the failure of the ship’s watertight doors for the tragedy. He claims that he is a hero for saving thousands of lives
However, Concordia midshipman Stefano Iannelli says that Schettino jumped into a lifeboat and abandoned the liner minutes before it capsized.
“I jumped on the top of a lifeboat. The captain had jumped moments before me,” Iannelli told the court, reported the International Business Times.
Already the captain has been found to have been having an affair with a staff dancer who revered him “as a god”, The Telegraph reported.
Roberto Ferrarini, who was in charge of the control centre at the time of the collision, has already pleaded guilty to multiple manslaughter.
If Schettino is found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in jail. The trial is expected to continue into 2014.