Costa Concordia Captain: Iíve Fallen and I Canít Get Up (and back on board)
By Mysterious Q
When the Costa Concordia ran aground adjacent to the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, 2012, it was a tragedy. What made it worse was that the evidence appears to show that the whole horrible mess could have been avoided by having a captain on board with more brains, less ego and perhaps even less libido. The master of this ship had a history of maneuvering his vessel close to Giglio, but the reasons why are still unclear.
Some reports indicate that he was showing off by bringing the ship in close enough to allow for passengers and those on the island to see one another and exchange waves. He admits to having done this before, but says his company told him to do it. Other reports claim that the married captain was trying to impress a young Moldavian woman (and crew member) with whom he was having dinner. A dinner which he ordered his kitchen crew to serve to them even after the accident had occurred.
Press reports and survivor accounts say that few or no announcements about what to do were made to the passengers during the whole time after the ship ran aground and struck rocks. I'm guessing because El Capitan Francesco Schettino was either busy chasing booty in the dining room, or he was just too much of an idiot to know what to do when a disaster he allegedly caused overtook him. Either way, it amazes me that reports indicate Schettino gave the order to abandon the ship just two minutes after he told Roberto Ferrarini, head of Costa Crociere's marine operations department, that everything was under control.
Now I do not want to make light of a disaster which has claimed the lives of over twenty people so far, so please do not take this the wrong way. I have always believed that if you don't laugh a little at times like these, all you'll do is cry. With that in mind, I have to say that certain things pop into my slightly deviant brain when I think of all the bizarre behaviors connected with this appalling situation.
I cannot get over the fact that the Captain claims he left the ship because while he (heroically?) was trying to assist passengers into life boats, he fell onto the roof of one. Somehow Schettino ended up in the life boat and, with what he claims are thirty years of experience as a captain, could not figure out how to get back up on to the ship that he crashed. That is just one of the statements he has made, thus far, to Italian Authorities who seem unamused and say they plan to hold him fully accountable for his actions. Maybe he should have had one of those panic button devices they advertise in that commercial where the lady says, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"
Now I believe in being fair, so I will say that it appears the captain was just one of many idiots on board. Press reports indicate that most of the high ranking officers among the crew were some of the first to reach the safety of the island in life boats. What? I thought they were supposed to be the last to leave the ship, not the first! Oh, that's right. It looks like El Capitan might have been one of the first off the wreck and even beat those crew members to shore. If they ever get out of jail and are still young enough, maybe they can find new jobs as bike or foot messengers. People that can move that fast to get off a ship could make a lot of cash delivering stuff.
I just don't know why the cruise line didn't place one of the rectangular yellow signs that everyone used to have on their car windows somewhere on the ship so that passengers coming on board would see it and know that there was an 'Idiot Captain and Crew On Board.' And, hey, being an older guy, it's not only those signs that I remember from the 1980s, but I just gotta bring up the song that good ole Kathy Lee Gifford used to sing in her Carnival Cruise Lines commercial days. "In the morning, in the evening, ain't we got fun!" Yea, right. Lots of fun for the passengers of the Costa Concordia!
I know that there are not very many cruise line ship accidents or disasters, but when they happen it's usually because one or more people are stupid and cause them. And they are almost always made worse because when they occur, none of the crew members on board seem to know how to handle the situation properly. Cruise big wigs have a fit if some crew member doesn't leave a mint on a passenger's pillow, but they cannot get it right when it comes to training their people on what to do when things go wrong in a much bigger way.
On top of all this, a priest is now in hot water with his congregation because of the Costa Concordia disaster. Father Massimo Donghi of Besana Brianza in northern Italy told his congregation that he was going away for a week to attend some kind of religious retreat. Instead, he somehow ended up on board the Concordia for a luxury cruise with some of his family members. His sin was brought to light by his own nephew who posted news of his safe arrival on shore after the ship's grounding on that relative's Facebook account. I guess the devil made him do it!
Speaking of devil's, I really hope that the Captain and crew members of the Concordia that abandoned their ship, their duties and their passengers go to the place were devils live. In the meantime, I admire and thank goodness for the other Concordia crew members and more than a few passengers that risked their lives to help people get off the ship and to safety. Those kind of selfless acts are what keep my faith in humanity from disappearing faster than Captain Schettino did from his ship.
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