Captain Francesco Schettino may go down, though not with his ship

The cruise ship Costa Concordia looks like a beached monster whale as it remains capsized after running aground with more than 4,000 passengers on an island off Italy’s Tuscan coast. Eleven are dead and almost two dozen passengers and crew are missing. Among the missing are two American passengers.

An amazing recording is being played on CNN — a transcript of which is here — as this is written of a supposed ship-to-shore radio transmission between the Italian Coastal Guards and Capt. Francesco Schettino, the ship’s skipper. In the recording, the port authority angrily inquires about the conditions on board the ship, not knowing until this conversation that Schettino had abandoned ship with passengers and crew remaining on board. It didn’t help to get to the truth that the captain first lied about having left the 952-foot, 17-deck cruise ship.

First Schettino said he abandoned the ship because it was “keeling.” The captain told the Coastal Guard that he was on a boat coordinating the efforts to evacuate the vessel.

Port authority: “What? You’ve abandoned the ship?”

Schettino: “No. What abandon? I’m here.”

M/S Costa Concordia. Cezary p photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

You’re either on board or your not.

Italian Coastal Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco ordered Schettino back on the ship several times in the conversation, adding very bluntly:

 “Look Schettino, you might have been saved from the sea, but I will make sure you go through a very rough time…I will make sure you go through a lot of trouble. Get on board, damn it.”

Schettino never returned on board and is under house arrest, facing the possibility of multiple manslaughter and other charges.

Early reports accuse the captain of navigating too near the rocky coast before beaching the ship.

 “While this is a terribly sad time for everyone involved, we want to recognize the tremendous efforts of Concordia’s crew, who along with the Italian Coast Guard and authorities, helped to evacuate more than 4,000 passengers and crew members from the ship in very difficult conditions,” Micky Arison, Carnival CEO said in a press release.

One supposes Arison means he was singling out the acts of those Concordia crew members who were not the captain.

The shipwreck has touched off a lot of talk concerning the safety of these maritime behemoths. Previously, most of the safety efforts were aimed at sanitation and prevention of disease. Crime on board these ships also has been a hot topic. A database of Centers of Disease Control ship inspections for sanitation can be found on this link. Also, here is a database of crimes on board cruise ships reported to the FBI between 2007-2008 which were compiled by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in South Florida.



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