The captain of the Costa Concordia, which capsized off the coast of the Tuscan island Giglio, may be in need of a maritime lawyer after being accused of abandoning ship before the crew and passengers were safely off the vessel. However, he is now claiming that he is owed an apology until the truth about what really happened with the accident is revealed.
Dubbed “Captain Coward,” Francesco Schettino was let go from Costa Cruises after making a decision to perform a maneuver known as a “salute,” which caused the vessel to come too close to shore and strike a rock, ultimately resulting in the ship capsizing. At least 32 people died in the maritime accident, and Schettino has been charged with several crimes, including manslaughter.
Yet, Schettino does not believe he is guilty; as he is being accused. In an interview with Italian Daily Il Giornale, the former captain claimed that he is owed an apology until an investigation into the incident is fully completed.
“All I read about me are indecent falsehoods [and] I will not be massacred by defaming lies,” said Schettino. “Everyone has had their say now and as some have distorted the truth, I will speak now.”
The former captain added that he is writing a book that will exonerate him and “bring to light what people don’t want to have known.” It will also provide “un-presented proof, hidden documents, entire recordings which up until now have only been released in part.”
Schettino is facing multiple manslaughter charges, but insists that he “saved a lot of people.” However, experts aren’t keen on taking his side. At pre-trial hearings in Italy last month, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone said the captain had more than enough time to maneuver around the rocks, but he did not react in time.
“The maneuver after the impact was completely fortuitous because the ship was (by then) out of control,” Dragone said in court.
Schettino continues to defend his actions, saying he coordinated with crewmembers for a rescue mission but was forced to get to shore because the dingy he was in began to take in water. He concluded the interview by saying, “I am just getting started … I will soon tell shocking truths. And then those who have denigrated me will have to apologize, not to me, but to the families of the victims and to the public who were cheated with false and misleading information.”
An Italian judge will be deciding whether Schettino, five Costa Concordia crewmembers and three Costa executives will be sent to trial for the tragedy. However, a trial would not likely commence until next year.
PHOTO CREDIT: www.guardian.co.uk