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What was the captain thinking?,
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This review is from: Fatal Voyage: The Wrecking of the Costa Concordia (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
I think that what really captured the world's attention in the Costa Concordia incident was that exactly one hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic, a huge, modern cruise ship with high tech navigation and propulsion systems could founder on the rocks within seventy meters of land. The pictures of the giant ship rolled on its side within spitting distance of a lighthouse were an almost surreal sight, but sobering in the fact that almost three dozen people are believed to have died.
Author John Hooper has done a splendid job of putting the pieces together in a very readable account of the disaster, one that focuses on the human interest element of the story. The experiences of several passengers were related, including Domnica Cemortan (was she the "Mystery Blonde" who was with the ship's captain the night of the accident?) and Father Massimo Donghi, who had told his parishioners that he was on a spiritual retreat, but was found out when his name was mentioned as a survivor. With the confusion that reigned after the collision, and the conflicting orders being given to the passengers, it now seems a miracle that more than four thousand passengers and crew were saved.
But the real "star" of the story was the Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino. The case against Schettino will undoubtedly play out on the Italian judicial system for years to come, but apparently he was performing a risky and dangerous "sail-past" of the little island of Giglio. As reckless as that was, when the poo hit the fan, Schettino's behavior went from bad to worse, as he was one of the first to abandon the stricken ship. (I learned that a captain going down with his ship is not just a tradition in Italy. Under Italian maritime law, a captain who deserts the passengers and crew can go to prison for several years.)
As befits a Kindle Short, the story is brief--about a half-hour read for most--with no wasted words. Intriguing reading, and highly recommended.
EDIT (2-22-12): I looked up Giglio ("Isola del Giglio") on Google Earth. Interestingly, a picture of the Costa Concordia has been overlaid on the aerial photography to show its location (turn on the "3D Buildings" level of Google Earth to see it).