19/01/2012 10:00 GMT | Updated 19/01/2012 11:23 GMT

Costa Concordia Tragedy: Costa Cruise Director Appears To Accuse Passengers Of Sensationalism

One of the top directors at Costa Cruises, the company responsible for the ill-fated cruise liner Costa Concordia, has accused the ship's surviving passengers of "nonsense" and "sensationalism".

In a letter addressed to her colleagues and printed in Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX, Assistant Director Monica Bova says she counts several friends among the Costa Concordia crew, and comments on how "strange" she finds criticism levelled at the company by surviving passengers.

"I have read, seen and heard so much nonsense with bitterness, just from these survivors, who tended as usual towards sensationalism rather than information," Bova said.

Her comments were first reported by Sky News, who noted Bova's criticism of the Costa Concordia survivors and reported her as saying it was outrageous that passengers would say "no one saved them", while they are safe on dry land.

Praising her crew, she says that no passengers would have been able to evacuate the boat without the help of staff onboard. "None of the guests would be able to evacuate themselves" she says.

Controversially she also lambasts passengers for not taking their own safety more seriously, noting that as a general rule many turn up late to safety procedures and laugh and joke rather than listening to the crew.

Her assertions come in the wake of reports that the Captain of the Costa Concordia, Francescino Schettino, currently under house arrest, was seen drinking and chatting with a young Moldovan woman only a couple of hours before the ship ran aground.

The Telegraph reports that Dominica Cemortan, a blonde 25-year-old, was invited up to the bridge for dinner on the evening of the accident.

In interviews with a Moldovan television station, Jurnal TV, and a Moldovan newspaper, she confirmed she was on the bridge, but says that it was only after the accident occured. It is unclear whether she was on holiday on the ship at the time, or serving as a passenger representative.

However authorities are still searching for her, believing she may be crucial into finding out what happened prior to the ship striking rocks close to the island of Giglio. It may also shed some light on Captain Francesco Schettino's role in the accident.

Sky news has reported that police have asked for toxicology and alcohol tests but as it is now more than a week after the event, it seems unclear as to what these tests could show.

The Telegraph reports that Mario Palombo, a former Costa commander and colleague of the captain, said: "I've always had my reservations about Schettino. It's true, he was my second in command, but he was too exuberant; a daredevil. More than once I had to put him in his place"

Cruise Ship Disaster