A PROFESSOR who invited the disgraced captain of the capsized Costa Concordia to speak at a criminology seminar has been referred to the ethics committee at Rome's La Sapienza University, the university said yesterday.

Professor Vincenzo Mastronardi held the "managing panic" s­eminar last month during which the January 2012 shipwreck in which 32 people died was reconstructed with 3D graphics and discussed with the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, the university said.

Schettino is on trial for manslaughter and accused of causing the incident and abandoning the 114,500-tonne luxury liner after it struck rocks and sank off the Italian coast, precipitating a chaotic night-time evacuation.

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A coastguard's order to Schettino to "Get back on board, damn it!" spread quickly in Italy and was printed on t-shirts.