COSTA CONCORDIA: The blame game is not one-sided after all

Edited from Reuters (, 2011.01.22. Bolds, italics and text in brackets are mine:

The operators of the Costa Concordia faced questions over their share of the blame for the shipwreck, as divers recovered another body from the stricken liner on Sunday, bringing the known death toll to 13.

Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of steering the 290 meter-long cruise ship too close to shore while performing a maneuver known as a “salute” in which liners draw up very close to land to make a display.

Schettino, who is charged with multiple manslaughter and with abandoning ship before the evacuation of its 4,200 passengers and crew was complete, has told prosecutors he had been instructed to perform the maneuver by operator Costa Cruises.


Costa Cruises have said they were not aware of any unsafe approaches so close to the shore and have suspended Schettino, saying he was responsible for the disaster.

According to transcripts of his hearing with investigators, Schettino has disputed that claim, saying Costa had insisted on the maneuver to please passengers and attract publicity.

[I would not be surprised: that fits in Costa’s corporate culture. As Mr Foschi, Costa’s CEO, said a few days ago, the company “don’t scrimp on signalling, safety and supervision systems. But we are, of course, in the business of making dreams come true” — see]

“It was planned, we should have done it a week earlier but it was not possible because of bad weather,” Schettino said.

“They insisted. They [Costa] said: ‘We do tourist navigation, we have to be seen, get publicity and greet the island’.”

[1. Again, the corporate culture. He was a company man, after all. 2. My wife just noted: “now they’ve got a lot of publicity, huh?”]

Italian newspapers have also published photographs of the Costa Concordia apparently performing the “salute” close to other ports including Syracuse in Sicily and the island of Procida, which is near Naples and Schettino’s hometown of Meta di Sorrento.

Schettino also said the black box on board had been broken for two weeks and he had asked for it to be repaired, in vain.

[I wonder if that happened in the aviation industry! The VDR is required by the SOLAS Convention. Its failure is definitely a deficiency, and indicates that there might have been others.]

In the hearing, Schettino insisted he had informed Costa’s headquarters of the accident straight away, and his line of conduct had been approved by the company’s marine operations director throughout a series of phone conversations.

He acknowledged, however, not raising the alarm with the coastguard promptly and delaying the evacuation order.

“You can’t evacuate people on lifeboats and then, if the ship doesn’t sink, say it was a joke. I don’t want to create panic and have people die for nothing,” he said.

[Schettino uses the present tense for past events, as if he was back there. Was that reasoning part of his decision-making process regarding abandonment of the ship?]

Costa, a unit of Carnival Corp, the world’s largest cruise line operator, says Schettino lied to the company and his own crew about the scale of the emergency.

Documents from his hearing with a judge say he had shown “incredible carelessness” and a “total inability to manage the successive phases of the emergency.”

Taped conversations show ship’s officers told coastguards who were alerted by passengers that the vessel had only had a power cut, even after those on board donned lifevests.


Adding to the growing debate about the ship’s safety standards, Franco Gabrielli – head of Italy’s Civil Protection authority which is coordinating the rescue operations – said a number of unregistered passengers may have been on board.

[It’s not only the ship’s safety standards that are under close scrutiny, but Costa’s — and Carnival’s.]

Relatives of a missing Hungarian woman told authorities she was on the Costa Concordia with a member of the crew, but her name was not on the list of passengers, he said.

“In theory, there could be an unknown number of people who were on the ship and have not been reported missing because they were not registered,” Gabrielli said.

Of the 13 bodies found, only 8 had been identified – four French nationals, an Italian, a Hungarian, a German and a Spaniard. At least 20 people are still unaccounted for.





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2 responses to “COSTA CONCORDIA: The blame game is not one-sided after all

  1. Pingback: Costa Concordia: Captain Schettino weeps remorsefully | Bangari Content Gallery

  2. Murali

    Ref to your ‘ Company man” remark:
    I am a mate too. I am usually outspoken when it comes to operational issues with Master’s. One thing that scared me is ‘Company man’ attitude, because with such person you can go on to argue but end of the day there was a excuse they found not to ‘rock the boat’ a.k.a create problems for people at shore office to get things fixed because it has been OK till now.

    Few years back when the vessel I was on was transiting the TSS at the southern or at the begining of Bay of Biscay (We were south bound); We had a blackout ,the TSS called us via Sat phone ( I was impressed) ,they were told what the issue was and we were back on business in a span of 10minutes or so .
    After we got power, I just went about checking all insturments and reported to Captain All ok and I have saved the VDR session. He shot back ” What.. what did you do that for !! NOW they will have all on record “!!!!!!!!!
    I was shocked….
    So if this Master was indeed a Company man, then we should be ready for rotten practices inside Costa cruises.

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