Captain's Judgment Questioned in Cruise Ship Disaster

Tue, 01/17/2012 - 05:22

The cruise ship accident that has left at least six dead off the Tuscan coast may have occurred because of significant errors on the part of the ships captain, Francesco Schettino.

"The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and the captain's judgment in handling the emergency appears to have not followed standard Costa procedures", cruise company Costa Cruises said in a statement.

The wreck occurred on Friday off the coast of Giglio when the ship hit a rock, tearing a 50 meter gash in the side of the vessel. Survivors described the scene as "chaos", as they fought for life boats.

The captain and first officer have been detained and will most likely be charged with manslaughter. The captain insists that the rock they struck was not on his nautical charts

While passengers have been critical of the cruise company, they have nothing but praise for the residents of Giglio who have opened their doors to the shipwreck survivals. During the winter, only about 900 residents live on the small island, with many moving to the mainland between October and April.

Prime Minister Mario Monti said he would recommend that Giglio and the mainland municipality of Monte Argentario both be awarded Italy's medal of civic courage for their efforts to assist the victims of the tragic boating accident.