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Old February 11th, 2015, 03:04 PM
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Default Schettino Gets 16 Years

Captain Schettino is sentenced 16 years in prison for the Costa Concordia grounding on the Isle of Giglio.

Discuss...

What I think is interesting is that the captain "could have" gotten lucky, exactly as he hoped, and the ship could have grounded without listing to the side. Conceivably, it could have just settlled in shallow water leaving the lifeboats working and everyone above water.

Now - it did not happen that way, and in retrospect that was probably too big a gamble to be taking with people's lives. But "grounding" is something captains do with foundering ships - it is not unheard of....

The Story...

The verdict has been a long time coming, but today the judges read the verdict for Captain Schettino in the case of the Concordia sinking off the coast of Giglio, Italy.

All together, the former captain will receive 16 years in prison - a cumulative total for a number of different offenses including manslaughter, abandoning a sinking ship, endangering lives with reckless behavior, etc (these are my paraphrases of the charges).

Schettino spent three hour on the witness stand making his final plea. He argued that his actions saved lives, and also the "salute" to the Island of Giglio was sanctioned by the cruise line. Schettino was captaining the ship past the island when it struck an underwater outcropping of rocks that the captain claims were not on any charts that he consulted.

Separate claims against the cruise line will be heard in civil court in the future.

The Event
On the night of January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia was leaving Civitavecchia, Italy, towards the port of Genoa when the captain decided to sail close enough to a nearby island so that the people on shore could see the ship up close. It has been reported that one of officers on the staff had relatives who lived in the island village close to the spot where the ship hit the rocks.

The rocks tore a long gash in the ships' hull that exposed several watertight compartments. The ship soon lost all power during the next 90 minutes or so, and soon drifted until it lost all forward motion. At that point the ship was turned around by the wind nearly 180 degrees and started drifting towards the coast of Giglio. The captain did not sound the "abandon ship" alarm before the ship hit ground under water.

Schettino claims that he expected the ship to eventually come very close to the island and stop when it met the ocean floor. He argued in his testimony that he deliberately did not sound the "abandon ship" because he expected the ship would be safer to evacuate under those conditions.

However, when the keel of the ship hit ground first the vessel listed strongly. As the ship continued forward the angle of the list got steeper and steeper until it reached the point where all of the lifeboats on the leeward side were no longer operable - leaving the passengers onboard in a situation where they had to either wait for seats on lifeboats that had already gone to shore and back - or else to swim.

In the end 32 people died. It was said by the prosecution that the captain delayed the abandon ship signal for too long, while the defense says the Captain did the right thing by waiting for the ship to get closer to land.

In my own personal estimation (and I am not an expert) the captain could have gotten lucky and the ship could have grounded without listing, and then all of the lifeboats would have worked as designed. However, it did not work out that way.

Unfortunately, many guests were told to wait in their staterooms and not to panic. Most of the people who died were found on lower decks that were submerged with water when (or soon after) the ship hit the shore. If the captain had sounded the abandon ship alarm earlier then everyone would have been above the water line when the ship struck ground.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 03:17 PM
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Glad for the guilty but 16 years is too light.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 03:24 PM
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I think if he wouldn't abandoned ship it might have been a different verdict and maybe no prison sentence. Abandoning the passengers I believe is what made the difference, if he would of been the last on the ship I don't believe he would do much if any prison time.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 03:45 PM
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Aero ...

I think you are right - that if he had followed proper procedure and gotten everyone off safely then he would have faced less severe charges. Probably just "reckless driving."
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Old February 11th, 2015, 04:10 PM
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I agree, there where a lot of bad calls that night, but his worst one was to be onshore when he had crew and passengers onboard that needed his guidance. It goes with the job, its called management responsibility, but he did not "take his moment".

He has to live with that, and let him consider it in jail what he could have done to be a true Captain. A good decision from the court. But 16 years could be actually be 10 or less with good behaviour, and thats not right. He could still rebuild his life in his mid 60's having done his sentence, unfortunately because of his showing off in the first place, 32 people cant.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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Even if the charges were kept the same I believe him simply doing the right thing the outcome would have been different.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 09:54 PM
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32 years, one for each lost soul, would have been more palatable for this sniveling coward...I'm sure the families who lost loved ones, and those still scarred from this, feel like he got off easy....his getting off the ship, was the worst mistake among many on this voyage.
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Old February 12th, 2015, 11:30 AM
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Actually 33 people died. A diver died during the raising of the ship. That diver wouldn't have been there if not for the Captain. The fact the Captain left the ship makes it even more reprehensible. He should spend the rest of his life in jail or at least a minimum of one year for each victim.
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Old February 12th, 2015, 03:45 PM
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Did the cruise line suffer any repercussions in this, other than the bad publicity?

It seems to me that if they authorized this habit of close sail byes for their ships on this itinerary ( even if it was not officially condoned and they were just looking the other way ) then it seems to me they hold some responsibility as well. Is there any entity which could levy fines or penalties on Costa? Of course, they will pay plenty to the families in civil lawsuits.

I can perhaps understand his decision to delay an "abandon ship" order. It's my understanding that this is a very last resort by any Captain, even in cases of emergencies like fire, until it is absolutely necessary. That process can also result in a loss of life, and as you said, he gambled the ship would would settle to the bottom in shallow water and remain upright. If he had been right, evacuation would have been much safer. Unfortunately, he was wrong.

It will be a cold day in he** when I will stay in my cabin at the bottom of the ship during any kind of emergency. Even if passengers have not been called to their lifeboat stations, I will be up somewhere in a public area. And isn't that one of his big egregious errors, in that he did not send crew to emergency stations nor passengers to lifeboat stations as soon as the ship hit the rock initially? I'm not even sure he ever called an abandon ship, or if the crew had to take it upon themselves to do what they could.
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Old February 13th, 2015, 10:43 AM
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Costa Crociere sidestepped potential criminal charges in 2013 by agreeing to pay a $1.3m (€1.1m; 860,000) fine.

And with him stating the outcrop of rocks were not on his charts, was correct, because the ship didn't carry the charts with that level of detail because it wasn't a stop on the cruise and he shouldn't have been there. You can't sail with every chart but you take the detail charts for the stops you are going. Going of course should not have been allowed by Costa nor a decent Captain IMHO.
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Old February 13th, 2015, 03:08 PM
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To Travelbuggs question, "Did the cruise line suffer any repercussions in this, other than the bad publicity?"

Costa, I would never have travelled on before this incident for other reasons, and after Concordia then I imagine that a lot less folks are willing to sail with them, so yes they will be getting hit financially week after week since that happened, who would want to go with them? At the end of the day they are owned by Carnival, I wonder how many meetings they had in Florida then and still today to potentially rebrand the line and what their thought process was on how they take that line name forward or not as its still under the Carnival brand at the end of the day
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Old February 13th, 2015, 03:30 PM
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In my opinion he should have been sentenced to 320 years in prison.
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Old February 13th, 2015, 03:45 PM
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Be realistic please
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Old February 13th, 2015, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidB View Post
Be realistic please

Being responsible for the deaths of 32 people in many societies regardless of the circumstances would warrant the death penalty .

I believe that the families of the people who died would concurr that this man should never again be allowed to have a happy life .For me ,10 years for each death is a positive sentence.
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Old February 13th, 2015, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidB View Post
To Travelbuggs question, "Did the cruise line suffer any repercussions in this, other than the bad publicity?"

Costa, I would never have travelled on before this incident for other reasons, and after Concordia then I imagine that a lot less folks are willing to sail with them, so yes they will be getting hit financially week after week since that happened, who would want to go with them? At the end of the day they are owned by Carnival, I wonder how many meetings they had in Florida then and still today to potentially rebrand the line and what their thought process was on how they take that line name forward or not as its still under the Carnival brand at the end of the day
I was booked on a Costa cruise that same year it happened and phoned them to see if I could get any extra perk for not cancelling my booking. But told no as bookings had increased by 20% since the accident and my cruise was now fully booked. So this hasn't harmed Costa as a cruise company or a brand. They are still popular over here in Europe. I felt safer onboard as safety was very high on all crew members minds.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 03:20 PM
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Too both of you I dont get it in either argument. On Concordia that night a lot of mistakes were made, but no-one meant to kill anyone, that word "meant" is key, it was a terrible accident at the end of the day. What he was sentenced for was his failing to react in the right way as captain.

SausPud, I also live in Europe, my friends and their friends are all cruisers, no way was Costas bookings up after Concordia, its a ridicules statement. Without an enquiry, without blame being reached that they are now selling out ships and bookings are up by 20%,,,,honestly, really!!! Did they tell you that, of course they would,,,,,
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Old February 17th, 2015, 03:43 PM
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And of you dont believe me, have a Google search on what came from the Financial Times had to say when they spoke to Carnival about the repercussions to Costa after Concordia
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Old February 17th, 2015, 04:09 PM
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I know for a fact that Costa bookings were down after Concordia sank - it is only logical. That was also the time of the Triumph incident and a bunch of other negative poop for cruises.

But while I personally think the captain made some serious mistakes he did out of having a big ego - (and you could say "cowardly") - he didn't want the "taint" of this on his record.

What he was really hoping was that he could ground the ship. A lot of foundering ships are grounded before they sink, and he had enough charts of the area (they do have internet PLUS tons of chart data stored on those ships) to know that there was a decent chance he could get the ship safely grounded before he called abandon ship.

Unfortunately, his plan did not go as he hoped. The ship keel hit a reef and the ship listed badly. Could he have foreseen this? Hindsight is always easy, but one thing we know - no captain will ever make a mistake like this again.

He delayed calling abandon ship - but he SHOULD have called "muster stations" so everyone was out on deck even according to the plan he was hoping would work - but he didn't.

He actually should have called abandon ship the second he knew it was going to sink - whether he thought he could ground it or not. But here was his dilemma - that would have saved all lives, but it would have lost the ship because he could only have done that in open water (before the ship listed) which would have meant dropping anchor and stopping the ship from drifting towards the island.

By the time all the people would have been able to get off - the ship would be too full of water to continue drifting towards ground. See? He was betting it would safely ground before he had to call abandon ship.

Unfortunately, he was wrong. When he realized his plan had failed he jumped ship. That was a bad idea, he should have called muster stations, gotten Costa on the phone and formulated a plan. In fact, he should have done that the moment he hit the rocks.

Even worse, Costa would have been better off if thaat ship had just sank to the bottom. Because they ended up having to pay $1billion just to refloat and remove the wreck.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 12:02 PM
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I agree. The minute there is a problem the passengers should be mustered. Better to have them ready to go. The Captain seemed to forget he was the Captain. People would be looking for him to take charge which he never did. And of course his abandoning ship just made a totally bad situation worse than worse.
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