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What Was Costa Concordia's Skipper Playing At?

by Paul Young
18 January 2012 13 Comments

As hope of finding survivors fades and a recorded transcript emerges, captain Francesco Schettino has a lot to answer for.

Italy boat crash

So the Italian press has released a transcript of the conversation between the Italian Coastguard and the captain of the Costa Concordia.

The captain, Francesco Schettino, appears, in the translation at least, to be extremely reluctant to go back to the ship he abandoned a while earlier.

Now, it may be that to get back onto a ship that is listing alarmingly is a very difficult, if not impossible task. Especially as the ropeladder back up the upturned hull would be choc- a-bloc with desperate and frightened people trying to get off the ship safely and quickly, which begs one question…

Why did he abandon the ship in the first place?

Now I know that there are no laws that say that the captain has to “go down with the ship,” especially these days, however, as far as we know he was responsible for the disaster in the first place. One analogy would be a pilot with an aircraft full of passengers jumping out of the cockpit just before the plane hit the mountain. Not a perfect analogy by any means, but by its extremeness it demonstrates the selfishness and idiocy of his decision to leave the sinking ship. We all know the well known saying about the type of rodent that does that, and in this instance it would seem to reinforce the correctness of the phrase.

With the information we have at the moment, he would appear to outsiders that he had deviated from the safe route, instead cutting it a bit too fine by sailing just too close to the rocky shoreline. If this was not done in the full knowledge of the danger of the action, it was then, at the very least, reckless. This means that he was unconcerned about the potential severity of the consequences of his actions.

It would appear that this recklessness has resulted in several wholly avoidable deaths, great damage to the ship and unimaginable fear to the passengers and crew. Not to mention the danger to the sea rescuers. Now, I’m sure that Schettino did not mean for this to be the outcome, but you have to ask what he was thinking…or even if he was thinking at all.

It would appear that this recklessness has resulted in several wholly avoidable deaths, great damage to the ship and unimaginable fear to the passengers and crew.

Schettino has, by all accounts, been a captain since 2006. This is not an inexperienced man. Unfortunately for him this makes it all the worse, and would tend to reinforce my assertion of recklessness.

In the recording, Coastguard Captain Gregorio De Falco repeatedly orders him to get back on board the ship. The translation of the transcript between Schettino, and De Falco is quite enlightening as to the character of the captain:

De Falco : “Listen Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the sea, but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Dammit, go back on board!”

Schettino, pleads at one point: “Do you realise that it is dark and we can’t see anything?”

The coastguard shouts back: “So, what do you want to do, to go home, Schettino?! It’s dark and you want to go home? Go to the bow of the ship where the ladder is and tell me what needs to be done, how many people there are, and what they need! Now!”

Well, De Falco hasn’t made Schettino look bad…he did that all himself.

The story will, no doubt, continue to unfold over the next few days and weeks.

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Ian Hough 8:34 pm, 18-Jan-2012

I believe Schettino is Italian for "Shithouse" is it not?

Dave lee 8:48 pm, 18-Jan-2012

I'd like to point out that Shettino has been a shop's captain for 15 years. In 1996, no-one died, in 1997, no-one died, in 1998, no-one died, in 1999, no-one died, in 2000, no-one died, in 2001, no-one died, in 2002, no-one died.......... I think you get the idea.

nm 8:58 pm, 18-Jan-2012

@Dave lee, nice try but that's like saying Mr. Smith was a postal worker for 20 years, and no one died on his watch...until he showed up to work with a semi automatic and laid 20 people low. A good history doesn't excuse a moment of reckless, cowardly failure.

Hillian 9:03 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Well said Dave, you retard. Hitler didn't commit genocide for more than 50 of his 59 years either. Its disgusting how these paragons of virtue get such a bad press

Vick O 9:59 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Afraid I dont Dave.

GB 10:04 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Dave - what about the incident with the pigeon?

Mart1n 10:05 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Quite liking the leak from his interrogation where he claimed to have accidentally fallen into a lifeboat... so presumably he didn't abandon ship ;-)

Dave lee 10:07 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Obviously Hillian and Vicky O aren't fans of The Day Today. Can't win em all.

Dave lee 10:10 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Maybe this will help:

griff 11:18 pm, 18-Jan-2012

italians. captains of ships. bonkers. i mean i thought all captains had bushy white beards and came from plymouth.

Ian Hough 12:02 am, 19-Jan-2012

Dave, there's a world of difference between a shop's captain (whatever that is) and a SHIP'S captain. And quite how this man was promoted from the onboard gift store to skipper is another question that must be answered. And soon.

GB 9:04 am, 19-Jan-2012

sense of humour failure

Hillian 9:27 am, 19-Jan-2012

I feel rather stupid. I only read the Daily Mail once, and look at how my sense of humour has eroded. Is there any hope?!

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