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Costa captain 'caused 2010 German accident'

Published: 02 Mar 2012 10:18 GMT+01:00

Captain Francesco Schettino "manoeuvred at a speed of 7.7 to 7.9 knots during entry into the port of Warnemunde, causing damage to the Aida Blu

cruise ship," his employer notified him in a letter published by La Stampa daily, referring to an incident in June 2010.

Schettino responded in writing saying: "I did not know the speed limit and have not received notification of an infraction from the relevant authorities." He said there were "probably other factors" behind the accident.

Schettino has been accused of manslaughter and of abandoning ship before all the passengers were evacuated after the Costa Concordia crashed into the

Italian island of Giglio on January 13 with the loss of 32 lives.

At the time of the incident in Germany, he was captain of the Costa Atlantica – another ship from the fleet of Costa Crociere, Europe's biggest cruise operator based in the port of Genoa in northern Italy.

Schettino, who has been dubbed "Captain Coward" by the tabloid press, is one of nine people under investigation for the Costa Concordia disaster including three Costa Crociere executives and five other crew members.

Leaked documents published on Thursday contained claims of a hard-partying

atmosphere on board two Costa Crociere ships including the Costa Concordia,

with officers seen snorting cocaine and getting drunk on a regular basis.

AFP/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:30 March 2, 2012 by wood artist
While some of this may best be described as "rumors" at this point, the speed violation in a port sound like something more serious. It would appear, based upon this information, that the Captain has some judgement issues that call into question his fitness for command. In all cases nautical, it is appropriate to err on the side of safety...for as the plaque on the bridge spells out:

A collision at sea can ruin your day!

wa
11:38 March 2, 2012 by pepsionice
Just the obvious....someone ought to be drug-testing all of the top guys who sit in the pilot house of the ship on a monthly basis. There is an attitude problem that threatens the safety of an entire ship. I don't think you could even offer me a free cruise at this point, because I'd be worrying about some guy being duped up and steering the ship.
13:32 March 2, 2012 by Eastard
On the contrary... Has anyone ever noticed that Italians drive everything fast with almost race driver skills. If a shipliner did not want this underlying attitude they should not have installed one.. In my many trips to Italy, I can stay that even the taxi drivers would go 0-60-0 mph in a city block... I did not ever see an accident there... just allot of fast and furious...

It is very unfortunate that the cruise line does not real-time monitor their captain's performance... and easy thing to do with existing satellite/gps/radio capability... It is useless to record location for after the fact review... They should discourage bravado piloting and any form of risk taking...
16:08 March 2, 2012 by Shiny Flu
He deserves prison time.

I'm not a certified captainl, merely someone that does the odd bit of sailing. Even I know that almost every habour/port has a 5 knot speed limit. Any half intelligent person should understand that a large vessel a) has no 'brakes' and b) is a PIA to manouver at speed.

Also, much like driving a car where it's the driver's responsibility. It's the Captains responsibility to know the speed limit.
03:11 March 3, 2012 by Yah right
Well, in the future it will be very important to learn who captain's your ship. Just one more thing that puts us all in danger when we believe that corporations would be certain that they are protecting their assets and @sses from financial damage. Oh my, I forgot, they have insurance to pay the ticket, so why bother with being certain that your crew does exactly what policy and procedure require. I mean, after all, what does it matter if tourists die????? Corporations could give a sh!t whether they provide for the safety of their customers; not today when profit, profit, profit is the ONLY thing that matters because they MUST keep their shareholders in the dough.
11:18 March 4, 2012 by justmebethb
I spent eighteen nights on the Costa Concordia. I traveled from Brazil to many ports before arriving in Italy. I never saw any employee acting as though they were impaired in any way. They were a very professional group of hard working people from all over the world. Safety is very important. Each of us must take a hand in ensuring own own best possible way of handling an emergency. We were delayed in leaving Santos, Brazil (our first port and point of origin) because we had a medical problem with someone who was unable to stand for the life boat drill in the heat and humidity. Many would have like dot skip the drill in favor of having a cool drink, but the crew were quite serious about the importance of what we needed to do. The first thing I always do when I get on board a ship, or plane or check into a hotel, is to look for all safety information. I located my muster station easily from the signs posted to show the way. My cabin had only one passenger, but four life jackets were available and many more were in well marked locations. Sadly, many of the lives lost could have been preventable. Nothing is valuable enough to try going back to your cabin to fetch in the middle of an emergency. People assumed that just because someone was a waiter or cook, that they did not know about safely evacuating people into lifeboats. Blaming the captain for speeding a couple of years earlier on a different ship is pointless. It is like being called reckless because a driver had been issued a speeding ticket at one point in their driving career. Italian drivers do drive quickly and often seem to not notice where the line is dividing the lanes. Germany has a worse reputation for the autobahn and I lived in England for years where the motorways were filled with speeders. It seems the news space would be better filled with stories about those whose lives were lost, ideas for helping those who survived but lost everything on the ship. There were many crew members who not only lost their home, their ship family, but also their income and means of supporting their families in their native countries. Finding a way to help is always better than pointing fingers of blame and shame. The courts will decide the fate of those responsible. A bit of kindness for everyone else involved can go a long way to change their lives for the better. I would travel on any Costa Cruise line ship tomorrow, given the chance. Having traveled through the bridge to the galley and everywhere in between, I can tell you the Costa Concordia had an incredible number of safety measures in place. The first part of human error sadly is the word human. And we all are...
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