It is hard to imagine what it must feel like to be responsible for the sinking of a 4000 passenger cruise ship. It is difficult for the average person to know that your decisions resulted in the largest cruise ship sinking in modern history, leading to the loss of 32 lives and the injury of dozens more. It is difficult to imagine how that must feel. But, if you are the former captain of the Costa Concordia – you’d apparently have a clear conscience.
Francesco Schettino, the former captain of the fated Costa Concordia, which sank on Juanuary 13, has described his conscience as “clear’ as it relates to the events of that night. This, despite the fact that 32 people died, this despite the fact that he is on record as having abandoned ship, this despite the fact that he was in control of the ship at the time of the accident.
Clearly there must be more people responsible for the crash than just Schettino. If the ship was truly off course, someone should have known about it at headquarters. If the captain was routinely allowed to go off the scheduled course – without having to provide an adequate explanation – that in itself is a breakdown in the command structure at the cruise line. But, in some very significant, very visceral way – the captain is responsible what what happens on his or her ship. This is why they are barred from abandoning ship when the ship is in trouble, until every passenger is safely off.
That Francesco Schettino can say he has a clear conscience about the events of January 13 says more about him, than it does what happened.