The one year anniversary of the Costa Concordia tragedy is upon us, and it seems as though the captain of the vessel, Francesco Schettino, has done little to repent. Instead, he is claiming he has been treated badly following the incident, despite the fact that he has been criminally charged for his role in the capsizing of the vessel, and one of the worst maritime accidents in history. Schettino says he has been “treated worse than Bin Laden” following the disaster, which took place on Jan. 13, 2012, leaving 32 people dead and hundreds more injured.
Schettino, 52, was in command of the Concordia when he decided to alter the vessel’s course as it approached the Italian island of Giglio. Schettino decided to carry out a maneuver known as a “salute” to impress passengers, which entails the vessel getting closer to dangerously closer to shore than safety protocols suggest. However, instead of showing off, what he did was cause the vessel to crash into rocks off Giglio’s coast, tearing a 70-meter gash in the ship’s hull.
Schettino doesn’t seem to be accepting full responsibility for the incident. Had the maneuver not been performed, the tragedy would have been avoided. Yet, the former captain claims he has been overly mistreated for the accident. Facing multiple charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship, Schettino spoke out in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, just days before the anniversary of the maritime tragedy.
“I’ve been treated worse than (Osama) Bin Laden, while my regret for what happened is enormous. I reject the image that has been attached to myself, it ridicules not only 30 years of my work but my experience worldwide and also the image of our country has been opened to unjust criticism globally,” said Schettino.
In the days following the capsizing, Schettino was given the nickname ‘captain coward’ after word got out that he fled the vessel before all the passengers and crewmembers were safely off the ship. Along with Schettino, several other crewmembers have also been blamed for their role in the tragedy and have also been criminally charged. The defendants await trial in Italy, but for the hundreds of injured passengers and the surviving loved ones of those who lost their lives, Schettino has not even begun to take responsibility for his actions.
Not only are cruise lines responsible for the safety of those onboard, but a vessel’s captain is in charge of making critical decisions that can save lives and avoid accidents. Instead, Schettino violated the safety protocols he should have followed and altered the course of the Concordia needlessly. Whenever innocent lives are claimed in a maritime accident due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, those responsible for the incident can and should be held accountable for their actions. To this end, the cruise ship injury attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. are actively representing dozens of passengers and crewmembers injured aboard the Concordia on that fateful day.
Photo Credit: couriermail.com.au