Blonde tour rep suspected of 'distracting' Costa Concordia captain before disaster wants six figure compensation
- Domnica Cemortan seeks US lawyer after revealing she is unhappy with £11,000 offer
- The tour rep claims she cannot get a job following bad publicity
By Will Stewart
PUBLISHED: 18:00, 16 August 2012 | UPDATED: 18:00, 16 August 2012
The blonde tour rep suspected of distracting the captain of the Costa Concordia before it crashed into rocks is to sue the cruise ship's owners in America for six-figure compensation claiming she is now almost penniless.
Domnica Cemortan, 25, has revealed she has taken her case to a US lawyer because she is unhappy about an offer of around £11,000 for the sinking in which 32 died.
The Moldovan - who had worked on board the ship but was a passenger on its final journey - expects legal action to begin within weeks.
Domnica Cemortan, 25, was working as a passenger rep for Costa Cruises
When the crash happened in January off Italy she was Captain Francesco Schettino's personal guest on the bridge, having earlier dined with him. Her luggage was found in his cabin.
She was interviewed as a witness by the Italian probe into the sinking and has admitted she shared a passionate kiss with him shortly before the disaster.
She said she expects she 'would have ended up in bed' with him but for the crash yet strongly denies any culpability for the horror, insisting instead she is a victim who deserves far higher compensation.
'If I sue the company, everyone else who hasn't settled will do the same,' she said hinting at a possible group action among survivors who have not yet accepted the offer. 'It's hard to get anything done in Italy because of the corruption.'
She claimed: 'They will drag it on forever - but they will have to listen to my American lawyer.'
Captain Francesco Schettino shared a kiss with Domnica Cemortan shortly before the ship crashed
Speaking in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, she claimed survivors such as her had been offered 10,000 euro as compensation for hardships caused by the crash, plus 3,000 euro for luggage and 1,000 euro for hand luggage, a total of 14,000 euro or around £11,000.
'But imagine if someone had some expensive jewellery there? Or got a very bad shock? You can't imagine what was happening in this situation.
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'People were on the edge between life and death and now the company wants them to forget it all just for 14,000 euro. It makes me laugh,' she said.
She refused to say how much compensation she was seeking but indicated that she regarded a figure of 100,000 euro as too small. 'I could make the same money giving interviews,' she scoffed.
Ms Cemortan said she was recently in the US to discuss her legal action. She refused to name the law firm but said the attorney was highly experienced and successful in such compensation claims.
Cruise ship Costa Concordia lay stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio
A police boat sails by the grounded Costa Concordia revealing the scale of the enormous cruise ship
The mother-of-one, who has also worked as a dancer, said that while the cruise ship's company prolonged her contract after the sinking, she did not succeed in obtaining work on other liners.
'I applied to some other cruise ships but they didn't get back to me. I have a good education and I want to work. I'm tired of having no job. I have a little daughter who I need to take care of.'
She claimed she now cannot get other jobs due to the publicity she has received after the sinking. The best offer she received involved her posing nude for a magazine, she said, adding: 'I have a little daughter. She will go to school and what will her classmates say?'
Sun loungers piled up next to the water chute as the Costa Concordia lay partly submerged off the west coast of Italy
She had sought work on television in Moldova but 'after all the horrible things they wrote about me - and keep writing - as a result of the crash, what kind of job can I get?'
On a recent trip to Europe, she claimed the attention she received was intolerable.
'It's very hard for me to be in Europe,' she said. 'People recognise me and some even try to take pictures of me. I was at a restaurant with my friends and everyone was staring at me. My friends were annoyed. They asked why everyone is staring so much.'
Costa Concordia was owned by Costa Crociere, a Genoa-based Italian cruise line owned by British-American Carnival Corporation & plc.
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