Former Costa Concordia Captain Lectures on Panic Management at Rome University

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 06:03

Former Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino, who is currently on trial for manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship over the January 2012 capsize of the Concordia, was invited to give a lecture on panic management at a leading Italian university.

The Florence daily La Nazione reported that Schettino gave a two-hour lecture to criminal science master’s candidates at La Sapienza University in Rome on July 5, where he explained how to handle situations of panic and crisis and emergency procedures. The university has confirmed Schettino’s participation, causing widespread indignation.

Schettino was quoted as saying: "I was called in because I am an expert. I had to illustrate the management of panic control."

Schettino, whose trial will resume in the fall, is accused of abandoning ship when hundreds of passengers were still on board trying to evacuate. He has claimed that he did not intentionally leave the ship, but instead "tripped and fell" into a lifeboat that took him to shore. He later refused to return to the cruise ship when the port authority chief ordered him to do so claiming the evacuation was almost complete when in fact it had just begun (see video below for recording of the conversation).

The professor who invited Schettino, Vincenzo Mastronardi, is now facing a disciplinary hearing. The university, which allegedly did not know about the invitation, "firmly condemned" the initiative. The dean, Luigi Frati, said it was an "inappropriate and unworthy choice." Italy's education minister Stefania Giannini called the news "disconcerting."

Thirty-two people died during an evacuation described by passengers as “chaotic” after the Costa Concordia smashed into a rock off the island of Giglio on the night of 13 January 2012. 

Here's the transcript of the telephone conversation between Schettino and the port authority chief the night of the accident: