Costa Concordia Captain Assured Last Year: ‘Everything Is Much Safer Now’

A year before the disaster the captain of the Costa Concordia, doomed cruise ship, said ‘everything is much safer’ on cruise ships comparing with Titanic times a century ago.

In case the captain is claimed guilty, he may face up to 15 years in prison. Photo: namornik/Flickr

Francesco Schettino, 52, assured a journalist at the Czech paper Dnes that the risk of happening similar disaster was much lower as safety systems had been put in place, reports the Daily Mail.

However, now the captain goes under investigation over the accident in which eleven people were killed and 24 still missing.

“I wouldn’t like to be in the role of the captain of the Titanic, having to sail in an ocean of icebergs,” said Schettino that time.

Besides, when asked about the impact of the disaster in 1912, he responded: “Luckily, people forget about tragedies.”

Costa Concordia, carrying about 4,200 passengers and crew, was sailing just 300 yards from the island’s rocky coast when it should have been at least four miles out to sea.

“These days, everything is much safer. It is easier to navigate thanks to modern technical instruments and the internet,” Schettino said 13 months ago.

“If an error occurs, it is not so serious, because we are better prepared for possible complications.”

The captain is under investigation now. He was reported abandoning his ship before all the passengers and crew had escaped.

However, a crew member of the Costa Concordia assures: “It is not true that the captain was first to leave the ship. I was on the last boat and he remained attached to the railing of deck three, while the ship was sinking.”

It is not the only accusation of captain’s irresponsibility.

Schettino was also accused of giving a too late abandon ship order, after the crew had already got down to rescuing passengers.

Mr Thomas, from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, said: “We had an announcement saying please stay calm, everything is under control, it’s just a minor technical fault.”

He added:“But then other people took the initiative and said, “Okay, let’s tell everyone to stay calm but hand over life jackets. We thought it was a “just in case” scenario but then we started to lift and started to tilt and we knew something was deadly wrong.”

As the Telegraph reveals, the captain only gave the order to evacuate at around 10.50pm – 70 minutes after the vessel smashed into the rock.

But transcripts of communications between the ship and the Coast Guard in Livorno showed the crew had already pre-empted the order, acutely aware of the danger that the vessel was in as it began to list onto its side.

Ten minutes required after the order to a Coast Guard vessel see lifeboats full of passengers heading towards the island.

Speaking yesterday at the Italian television, the skipper said he did not understand why the ship had hit the rocks.

“Even though we were sailing along the coast with the tourist navigation system, I firmly believe the rocks weren’t detected,” he said.

“The ship wasn’t heading forward but sideways as if under water there was this rock projection. I don’t know if it was detected or not, but on the nautical chart it was marked just as water and some 100-150 metres (330ft-500ft) from the rocks, and we were about 300 metres from the shore, more or less.”

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