Grosseto, Italy: A Moldovan dancer who was on the bridge when the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed into a reef near Italy, killing 32 people, has testified at the captain’s manslaughter trial that the two were lovers.

Domnica Cemortan also told the Italian court on Tuesday 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.

Cemortan says 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.

Meanwhile, a Costa Concordia crew member testified that the captain was disappointed he hadn’t sailed near enough to a Tuscan island and wanted to get even closer on a second try, an attempt that ended in a shipwreck that killed 32.

Maitre d’ Antonello Tievoli testified Tuesday at Captain Francesco Schettino’s manslaughter trial that he had asked the captain to sail close to the island of Giglio, as a favour to his family who live there. Tievoli said Schettino obliged on January 6, 2012, but decided the Concordia hadn’t been close enough and ordered his No 2 officer to plot a closer route next time.

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