Two female former crew members allegedly told Italian prosecutors that they saw officers snorting cocaine, getting drunk and harassing female staff  while on duty before the ship sank off an Italian island six weeks ago.

Captain Francesco Schettino, 52, “used women as goods to be exchanged”, said one of the women, according to two Italian newspapers, La Stampa and Il Messagero.

The two women worked on the Costa Concordia and other ships owned by Costa Cruises since 2009 – one as a nurse and the other as a passenger rep.

Their claims are being used as evidence in the investigation into the Jan 13 disaster by prosecutors in Grosseto, Tuscany.

The nurse, identified as Valentina B, said: “I found corruption, prostitution and drugs.

“Do not tell me it’s my word against them – I saw directly with my own eyes senior officers take cocaine.

“To prove it all you need to do is carry out an examination of their hair.”

She said she had worked on three different Costa Cruises ships, “each one worse than the other”.

The passenger rep, Mary G, told prosecutors: “I worked on the Costa Concordia in 2010 for two months. Very often the officers and other members of the crew were drunk. Often we’d say to ourselves, ‘If there’s an emergency, who’s going to save the ship?'”

She claimed to have been “molested” by a crew member who had taken drugs.

Costa Cruises  said there were “strict regulations” and regular checks on all its ships against the use of illegal drugs.

It added: “Costa crew are not allowed to consume alcohol in a quantity that may impair the capacity to perform on-board duties.”

The current death toll from the disaster is 25, but seven people are still missing, presumed dead.