The blonde woman pictured with Schettino on the bridge, who some believe he was trying to impress, could be a key witness to the events leading up to the moment the ship ran aground.

She is believed to be a 25-year-old Moldovan crew member called Domnica Cemortan, who hasn’t been identified by investigators because she isn’t on any official paperwork for the Costa Concordia.

She is thought to be a passenger rep who was hired without a proper contract.

Prosecutor Francesco Verusio asked police to try and trace the woman, who witnesses believe knew Schettino.

She may have been seen dining with Schettino at around 9pm, just 30 minutes before the ship crashed.

Divers have resumed the search for the 21 people still listed as missing on the vessel.

Schettino earned the name Captain Coward after abandoning his ship while passengers were still on board.

He claimed that he “fell into a lifeboat”.

So far at least 11 of the 4,200 passengers and crew have died following the disaster off the Mediterranean island of Giglio on Friday.