COSTA CONCORDIA Captain Admits He Was “Distracted”
July 13 marked six months since the COSTA CONCORDIA capsized near the Italian island of Giglio, resulting in the deaths of 32 people, including two Americans. Island residents and victims’ relatives offered prayers, while ships sounded their horns in honor of those lost. Church bells rang out at 9:42 p.m., signaling the time of the tragic cruise ship accident.
Earlier in the week, Captain Francesco Schettino gave his first television interview since the accident, having been released from house arrest the week before. According to NBC News, he told Italy’s Channel 5 that although he does not accept full blame for the accident, he feels “guilty for having been distracted.” Captain Schettino claims he was above deck calling a retired captain when the accident occurred, having left the ship under another officer’s control.
Although he admits to being distracted, Captain Schettino also points to possible mechanical failure as a factor in the accident. In a subsequent interview, he told NBC’s Michelle Kosinski that “[s]omething inside that compass went wrong . . . [t]he rock was marked on the charts but the depth of the water on the charts was more than in the reality it is.”
Even if mechanical failure was an issue, Captain Schettino still acted negligently by turning his attention away from the safety of the ship. The U.S. Coast Guard defines operator inattention as “failure on the part of the operator to pay attention to the vessel, its occupants, or the environment in which the vessel is operating.” If Captain Schettino was above deck making a phone call as he claims, then he could not have been paying adequate attention to the ship nor to the off-course environment into which he admittedly decided to take it.
When operator negligence results in maritime injuries and deaths, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation. Have you been involved in a maritime accident? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to learn about your legal rights.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers