Thoughts on the Costa Concordia Tragedy

I’ve been on many cruises and have a family friend who is a retired Captain and Commodore. I greatly respect maritime traditions, and the expectation that the captain goes down with the ship is indisputably the most profound assumption of personal responsibility asked of leaders in modern society. That a man could fall short of this expectation is not surprising.

However, the totality of the circumstances here tell me that Captain Schettino was at best a reckless showboat and a coward, and at worst a monster unconcerned with his passengers’ safety or even determined to harm them. He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

He’s admitted to running aground while showing off to a retired Captain who lives on the island they were passing. Then he apparently did not issue an SOS for an hour, nor did he instruct passengers to muster; finally, he declared abandon ship. He then claims he tripped and fell into a lifeboat, after which time he refused to comply with orders from the coast guard to re-board the ship and report on the number of crew, passengers, women, and children still aboard.

His actions were cowardly and criminal and cost many innocent lives. My thoughts go out to the victims and their families. And I hope the other ambitious mariners out there who would seek to become captains of luxury cruise ships will think twice about their motivations. With great power comes great responsibility.

Listen for yourself to his conversation with the coast guard


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