updated 2/18/2012 2:01:41 PM ET 2012-02-18T19:01:41

Lawyers for survivors of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship on Saturday pressed for new drug tests on the ship's captain after traces of cocaine were reportedly found on the outside of a hair sample.

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But the consultant who did the analyses for prosecutors stood by results, which found no presence of the drug in urine samples or within the hair itself.

Italian consumer protection group Codacons is representing some survivors of the shipwreck of the cruise liner, which rammed a reef near a Tuscan island the night of Jan. 13. Under Italian law, those attaching civil suits to a criminal case must be informed of, and allowed to monitor, evidence and other developments in the probe.

Codacons said Saturday that some traces of cocaine were found on a hair sample and in an envelope containing the sample, but noted that a urine sample taken from Captain Francesco Schettino and an analysis of the hair itself found no presence of the drug. It called that finding "very strange" and said it had asked prosecutors on Friday to order new testing to see if the samples might have been contaminated.

The Italian news agency ANSA quoted the forensic medical expert who carried out the toxicology test as dismissing Codacons' concerns about the external trace of cocaine.

The expert, Marcello Chiarotti, was quoted as saying the modest trace of cocaine "was a marginal problem that absolutely doesn't invalidate the results of the analysis" that found none of the drug inside the hair itself or in the urine. Traces of cocaine in the urine or inside the hair itself would have pointed to consumption.

The prosecutor's office in Grosseto, Tuscany, was closed Saturday, as was the law office of the attorney defending Schettino, who is under house arrest in his home near Naples while he is investigated for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship. The lawyer also could not be reached on his cell phone.

Schettino has denied abandoning ship and insisted the reef was not marked on navigational charts.

Thirty-two people are believed to have perished, including 15 whose bodies have not been found.

Chiarotti was described as expressing confidence in the results. "We will be able to clear this problem up later," ANSA quoted him as saying. "Those who work in our field know that there can be problems like this." He told ANSA that "the results leave no doubt," adding that he would formally hand in the report to prosecutors next week.

Chiarotti is on the teaching staff of Rome's Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. The university said he was not in his office Saturday.

ANSA, without citing sources, said that traces of the drug might have resulted if Schettino's hair had come in contact with someone who had handled cocaine.

A Codacons spokesman, Stefano Zerbi, told The AP that the group was raising the possibility with prosecutors that the samples might have been poorly preserved. Codacons' statement said the results indicate a "strange, passive contamination," in which cocaine somehow got onto Schettino's hair even though he wasn't using the drug.

The samples were taken on Jan. 17, Codacons said.

The consumer group on Friday also asked prosecutors to order DNA testing of the samples to confirm they are indeed those of Schettino, to eliminate the possibilities the samples were accidentally mislabeled or switched.

The Concordia's hull was speared by the reef after the ship cruised close to the island of Giglio in what many contend was a publicity stunt.

The Concordia was carrying some 4,200 passengers and crew on a week's cruise on its standard route when it crashed into the reef during dinner a couple of hours after leaving an Italian port.

The boat started badly listing to one side almost immediately, causing passengers to panic and try to scramble aboard lifeboats. But the evacuation wasn't ordered until about an hour later, and some passengers jumped overboard to swim to Giglio when several of the lifeboats couldn't be deployed because of the ship's tilt.

Divers have been searching sections of the wreckage where some of the missing were last seen in hopes that more bodies can be recovered. After much delay, in great part because of stormy weather, pumping operations have been under way for a week to remove some 500,000 gallons of fuel from the ship's tanks.

The Concordia is lying on its side close to the port of Giglio, which is part of a protected Tuscan archipelago in pristine waters famed for whales, dolphins, fish and coral.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Disaster on the sea and ‘Inside Concordia’

  1. Closed captioning of: Disaster on the sea and ‘Inside Concordia’

    >>> nice to be seeing you. i'm dylan ratigan . another wild week coming to a conclusion. we start today with a different approach. we have the privilege and really the opportunity to explore some of this with you. we couldn't help. exclusive footage from inside the most horrifying commercial sea disaster since the titanic. referring to the concordia disaster. 17 people lost their lives. we understand that this departure from where we'd dipically start the show, but with the video and story so compelling, we did want to get this out into the conversation this afternoon. all of it is featured in the discovery channel special that will air this weekend. one clip despite the captain's orders for passengers to remain calm and stay on the boat, understandably, in the face of those orders in a boat that was sink bing, they did not listen to the captain.

    >> i think he's in denial. i think he's hoping against hope he can keep his ship afloat. he does not take that important step of ordering everyone to lifeboat stations early enough for them to avoid the panic that comes with the call " abandon ship ."

    >> that most significant leadership trait, the humility to actually acknowledge what's happening and adjust, lacking. the captain, by the time he called abandon ship , the ship was already tipping over. thousands of passengers still on board the boat at the time not nearly enough lifeboats at that time to take them off the boat. incredibly, the captain's actions and judgment are believed to have cost lives, the discovery channel experts believe a change in the wind direction at the moment of the disaster actually saved many lives. it it airs this sunday night at 10:00 p.m . captain michael burns of the maritime academy helped analyze the disaster for the folks at the discovery channel . let's start with how the wind could have saved all those people. walk us through your logic on that.

    >> well, what happened with our investigation, we had access to position data that showed the moment that the ship did strike the rocks. and then begin to slowly lose speed and come to rest dead in the water . . the wind direction at the time was coming from the northeast. it helped to set the ship down on to the shore where it finally came to rest on the ocean floor . had had that wind direction been slightly different, it's possible the ship could have been lost all together.

    >> this story were it not so real and were the consequences not so permanent and disastrous is almost like a mythological tale of bad leadership. of the inability to recognize and have the humility to pivot, if you will, or to change inside of your course of actions and command because of either your own denial or own ego or whatever it might be is the observation from a casual viewer of myself like this, does that correlate with the way you conducted your analysis?

    >> certainly, to put one's ego aside and realize that there are lives you're responsible for is something that that captain has to take into account. and giving the order to abandon ship is one of the most gut-wrenching decisions he could ever have to make.

    >> and your view based on the analysis that you have conducted as to -- actually, forget your the protocol? is there a protocol at which that individual must order abandon ship regardless of how it might reflect on how they have been driving the ship or any variable that may ultimately fall to their responsibility that occurred prior?

    >> well, the decision to abandon ship ultimately rests with the master. in his mind, if conditions on the ship are such that he doesn't think that people can survive on board, then he's obliged to give the order to abandon ship . and that order needs to be given in enough time for everybody to be accounted for and to board the lifeboats and abandon the ship with everybody safely escaping.

    >> so the threshold for the decision, as soon as it appears that the risk of loss of life off the boat is lower than it is on the boat, that's the sort of judgment around which any ship captain is deciding. is that correct?

    >> that's ultimately the decision he would have to make. are my chances of survival better in the lifeboats than they are on board the ship?

    >> and how much of that process is revealed in this piece that you led for discovery ?

    >> well, it seems that the order to abandon ship may have been delayed. the ship was taking on water and beginning to list to the star board side of the ship. and that caused some of the lifeboats to have some difficulty in launching because of the severe angle that she was listing.

    >> when you look at what is possible in the modern day , which is really the only reason we're able to have this conversation, where you have camera footage inside of a large commercial cruise liner , a very familiar experience to a lot of people around the world, you think about sort of the nightmares that people conjure around the titanic and all of this. what do you believe we will learn by experiencing what is presented in this video and really learn about the core characteristics of leadership in making difficult decisions, whatever the decisions were on this particular ship?

    >> one of the things i think we'll take away in terms of leadership is that the captain really needs to, um, put his ego aside in evaluating the situation that's going on there and realize that the lives of thousands of people are in his hands. and he needs to make decisions that are in their best interests and not necessarily his.

    >> and is there any parallel to the research around the "titanic"? it had a tremendous amount of ego. the certainty of its grandeur amplifies the irony of the tragedy. and we see a lot of leadership, and i don't mean to take you to a place that's less comfortable, so you have no obligation to do this. you look broadly at corporate leadership, all the leadership in this country and really in the world, it seems like there's a tendency in a lot of leaders to skew towards self-preservation or their sense of self-preservation at the expense for whom they have assumed responsibility. and i'm interested in whether you feel that i'm going too far in sort of offering that as a journalist as an observation?

    >> i would say that as a practicing mariner, as someone who has been captain of his own ship and i'm sure many of my fellow mariners would agree with me, the safety of the ship and of the crew is of utmost importance to you. you will do anything in your power to keep them safe. you just have to be in that position and be prepared to deal with the consequences.

    >> what would you say of other leaderships of this country, outside of discipline and danger that you're forced to work in, obviously, with a large set of risks and very fatal consequences, at a lower threshold, what would you say is something we could all learn about leadership that is so essential to your function and all our maritime captain's function on the water around the world?

    >> to lead by example is something. certainly that we teach our cadets at the academy. to take care of your people. and they will take care of you.

    >> thank you, captain michael burns out of the massachusetts maritime academy . there's the piece. " cruise ship disaster inside the concordia." all sorts of footage included in that on sunday at 10:00 p.m . thank you for indulging my questions. coming up,


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