The former captain of the doomed Costa Concordia addressed a seminar at Italy’s biggest university, it has emerged.

Francesco Schettino, who is on trial charged with manslaughter and other offences, was quoted as saying: “I was called in because I am an expert. I had to illustrate the management of panic control.”

Thirty-two people died when the ship hit rocks off the island of Giglio in January 2012.

The Florence daily newspaper La Nazione reported that Schettino spoke for almost two hours to graduate students at Sapienza University in Rome, according to The Guardian.

The university confirmed that the former Concordia captain had participated in a seminar on July 5 that formed part of a master’s course in criminology and forensic science.

The university “firmly condemned” the initiative, adding that the rector had referred the organiser, Prof Vincenzo Mastronardi, to the ethics committee for an assessment and possible disciplinary action.

Speaking to La Nazione, Schettino claimed he had been given an “academic recognition” for his contribution to the seminar.

“Apart from anything else, I have sailed every sea in the world,” he was quoted as saying. “I know how people behave in these cases [and] how you need to react when there are crew members of different ethnicities.”

He reportedly told the paper that studies had been conducted comparing the wrecking of the Concordia with other disasters.

Among the questions raised was: “Why, during the attack on the twin towers, were there people who threw themselves out of the windows [whereas] during the foundering of the Concordia no one did anything similar?”