When the Costa Concordia crashed into rocks off Italy’s West Coast Friday night, it marked one of the most horrific ship accidents since the Titanic in 1912.

 

Captain Francesco Schettino has been placed under house arrest on suspicion of manslaughter after he allegedly steered the cruise ship off course. Further investigation into Captain Schettino’s actions has led to additional accusations that he abandoned his vessel before all passengers evacuated.

A recording released by Italian media outlets supports claims of negligence and even recklessness with regard to passenger safety. Reportedly, the Italian Coastguard made several requests that the captain fulfills his duty to passengers and crew on the stranded ship, and return to his vessel to facilitate the rescue process.  The captain, however, ignored these entreaties and seemed to focus more on his own safety, stating: “I’m in a lifeboat, I am under here. I am not going anywhere. I am here.” In hearing about the captain’s actions, Michael Murphy, national vice president of government relations for the largest union of merchant marine officers in the U.S., stated: “I would have stayed and I can probably speak for all the American colleagues that I know of . . . it’s sort of the American ethos, I guess. You don’t leave that ship until you’ve got the people off. That’s the type of leadership you expect from the captain.”

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By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz, P.C.Permalink