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Coast Guard Rebuked Cowardly Costa Concordia Captain, Demanded He Return to Ship: VIDEO


A radio exchange between the Coast Guard and Francesco Schettino, the Captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship which ran aground on Friday night off the Tuscany coast, reveals that the Coast Guard ordered Schettino, who had abandoned the ship, to reboard and assist those trying to get off the wreck.

Says the officer in the recording: "Listen, there are people who are coming down the ladder on the bow. Go back in the opposite direction, get back on the ship, and tell me how many people there are and what they have on board. Clear? Tell me if there are children, women and what kind of help they need. And you tell me the number of each of these categories. Is that clear? Look, Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the sea but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Dammit!"

Schettino is under house arrest. Five more bodies were found today, bringing the death toll to 11. Dozens remain missing.

Another video has been released shot by a Coast Guard helicopter crew using night vision which shows people scattered over the hull of the partly-submerged ocean liner struggling to get off.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

Gay Couple Describes Frightening Ordeal Aboard Sinking Costa Concordia Cruise Ship [tr]


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  1. Sea Law would dictate that a captain be shot for abandoning his ship before everyone else.

    Posted by: wtf | Jan 17, 2012 5:42:59 PM

  2. I can't say I blame him. Im not sure I'd be willing to die given the same situation.

    Posted by: mike128 | Jan 17, 2012 5:52:49 PM

  3. The laws of the sea requires the Captain to make sure everyone is rescued out of the boat before himself. If you do not respect that law, you should not be a Captain.

    Posted by: Monsieur R | Jan 17, 2012 6:12:20 PM

  4. It certainly seems that the Captain cowardly and illegally saved himself from the stricken ship--and if that be actually true, he should be thoroughly condemned and punished--but, like in all situations, we should wait for the full facts and consider the situation fairly. There does not appear to be an actual law that says that the captain must be the last person to step off a vessel in distress. There is lore to that effect, and I think the Merchant Marine Officer's Handbook expressly says that, but the actual law says basically that the captain must ensure the safety of his passengers including while abandoning ship. It does not say from where and how he does that. There may be circumstances--and I emphasize "may"--where a captain can better protect his passengers from a lifeboat. It must be remembered that danger to the passengers does not end once they are in the lifeboats. For example, if the majority of passengers have been gotten into the launched lifeboats, conditions as to remaining passengers on the ship are unknown/unknowable, and the passengers in the lifeboats face conditions as dangerous or more dangerous than those on the ship, the captain can arguably save more lives by controlling the lifeboats. This is particularly so if the captain does not know that anyone still remains on board. As the Coast Guard transcript reveals, the Captain in this case mentioned how dark it was. I guess the best way to imagine the point I am making is to put yourself in a darkened ship that is on its side. You have little to no communications. As a captain, would you spend your time walking through the entire massive cruise ship to verify that everyone is off--a task that would take days--or would you effectively supervise the evacuation of passengers and once you believed everyone was off, shift to a lifeboat yourself? I am not defending the Captain, because it seems that the accident was caused in the first place by reckless steering, but we should look at all the circumstances before rendering judgment.

    Posted by: James E. PIetrangelo, II | Jan 17, 2012 6:52:46 PM

  5. Circumstances might be different for each emergency on the sea. Still, even a child knows it has, and will always be; a captains sacred obligation to stay on his ship until every reasonable effort has been made to evacuate passengers. Captain Smith on the Titanic might have wished he could crawl into a warm safe lifeboat, but he stayed to take responsibility. There is NO excuse good enough in this situation to relieve this slimy bastard from his duty.

    Posted by: Booka | Jan 17, 2012 9:39:57 PM

  6. I always find the idea of saving the "women and children" to be insulting to both sexes in different ways.
    First of all, it suggests that women are more helpless or confused in this situation than other adults (being in the same category as children). There are plenty of sedentary, octogenarian men on such a cruise ship who would be more hopeless trying to swim to shore than a lot of the women.
    Second, it's insulting to males as it seems to suggest that it is less of a tragedy if a man is injured or dies.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 17, 2012 10:15:55 PM

  7. Unless the captain is "Aquaman" he'll drown like the rest of them. It may sound good to say "go down with the ship" but not too many people would actually do it. Even if it were some "law" which I doubt it is...I'd rather SIT in jail than LAY in a coffin...just sayin'

    Posted by: Marty | Jan 17, 2012 11:24:35 PM

  8. GREGV - Evolutionary Psych would probably point to children as the next generation, and women as brooders; all important to the survival of the species. After all, one male could impregnate many females, so not many males need survive. Whatever. I have to agree with you, though. Heros come in all genders. Why assume only men are capable of toughing it out? And isn't it weird that men are considered so expendable, in disaster, or in war? One could go back to E.P., but have we not yet evolved, at least intellectually, past what some might consider basic survival instinct? Lord knows, I've had and have hopes and dreams. And feelings. Why me first to die?

    Posted by: TJ | Jan 18, 2012 1:15:59 AM

  9. @Mike128, then you would never choose to be a captain, since every captain must know this rule.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jan 18, 2012 9:20:53 AM

  10. Booka: you talk about "crawling into a warm safe lifeboat" as if you know for sure that the Captain and his officers jumped in the lifeboat at the first hint of danger to save only themselves. But you weren't there, were you? So how do you know how it went down? When and under what circumstances did the Captain get in that lifeboat? That is still the question. I remember back in the 90s when people jumped on the media bandwagon in condemning another person who "appeared" to be a villain, and it turns out he was not only completely innocent, but was actually the hero of the situation. Do you remember Richard Jewell, and the Atlanta Olympics. Your concept is more myth than reality. The duty of the captain of a ship is to do everything humanly possible to ensure the safety of the passengers. Period. All things being perfect, he should be the last person to leave the ship; but nothing is ever perfect. If the Captain actually acted illegally or even immorally, then let's condemn him, but let us not condemn him on the basis of lore. The captain of the Titanic remained because he knew that passengers were still on board and would perish. It is still not clear that when the Captain of this cruise ship went into the lifeboat, that he knew that passengers remained or could have known that passengers remained. It is also questionable that his being in the lifeboat was an attempt to even save himself, as the cruise ship was not sinking; it had turned on its side. Arguably, it was safer to remain on ship (at least on the side of the ship that was not submerged), than to get into a lifeboat. Scores of people lost their lives; we should not ruin the life of another simply on the basis of jingoistic sea lore. Let's get the facts.

    Posted by: James E. PIetrangelo, II | Jan 18, 2012 11:32:06 AM

  11. Mike,

    The "situation" was that the captain put the ENTIRE ship at risk by going too close to the shore, so the head of the waiting staff could wave at his father, who lived on the island.

    Under that "situation," causing the ship to sink by making a bone-headed decision and causing the deaths of over a dozen people, you wouldn't be willing to stay on board until the last possible moment, ensuring everyone could get off that ship that was humanly possible?

    As others have stated, if a captain isn't willing to be the last person off the ship, they probably shouldn't be a ship's captain... but I'd say that goes doubly so for someone who makes rash decisions to please one friend that puts at risk 4,000 people. That captain is a hack and a creep and a murderer, and the cowardice he displayed by refusing to stay on board at least as long as he could is only matched by his total lack of respect for human life, by putting everyone at risk in the first place.

    As far as I'm concerned, that captain should never again see the light of day.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 18, 2012 12:50:15 PM

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