Photo courtesy Guardian - click for NBC News story
I'm sure that, in the firestorm following the sinking of COSTA CONCORDIA (Click "Capt. Schettino" and the various "Costa Concordia" links in the Categories column to the right side of the page), former Captain Francesco Schettino has been subjected to some unfair criticism - especially among the mainstream media and the public at large, where there is often a sketchy understanding of the maritime world. 

But Schettino invites an awful lot lot of that criticism by defending himself as he does in this interview. I've read several like it; and Schettino has also been talking up a forthcoming book in which he will tell the "real" story, presumably justifying himself along the same lines.

In the interview above, COSTA CONCORDIA's former Master says "I regret nothing" about his conduct after striking the rock. And indeed, some analysts have commended the crew for getting the ship close to shore before she sank. By selecting one part of the scenario that may have had some positive aspects - and focusing on that alone - he tries to claim that the criticism directed against him is unjust. 

This is twisted logic at best, since anyone can see the 800-lb gorilla that he's ignoring: Schettino, as Master, is responsible for the accident in the first place. In failing to take responsibility for that fundamental aspect of the situation, he makes anything else he might say irrelevant.

Reading on, it only gets worse. The former Captain blames the actual striking of the rock on the OOW; he belabors himself only for the fatal error of "trusting" someone else - something he says he'll never do again! It wasn't his fault; he was betrayed by an incompetent officer. He implies that the company made him trust his officers, against his better judgment. 

However, except for having been too trusting and naive - except for his having been, regrettably, almost too good a person - except for the poor conduct of his officers - excepting all those things which were not his fault, Schettino assures us, he takes full responsibility for the accident. 

The victims' family members hate him, he hints, because they've been unable to deal with the loss of their loved ones who died in the accident. It sounds as if he's saying that if only they'd been able to handle their pain in some better way, they wouldn't have reacted by irrationally hating him. Then he compares his own pain to theirs, putting himself on an equal footing. We're all victims here, and your pain is Schettino's pain!

A moment of silence during a Catholic Mass at Giglio to commemorate the Costa Concordia disaster - click photo for Mail Online story
If Schettino's book consists of more of the same, it will be a black eye for our industry. Self-serving reasoning and shifting blame don't constitute a defense; they only illustrate that Francesco Schettino has learned nothing. 

Let's hope that Costa, and the the cruise industry, has!

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