Charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship, the Italian captain who crashed the Costa Concordia off the Tuscan coast insists that he is not the only one to blame for the fatal shipwreck. Capt. Francesco Schettino has even garnered some support from an unlikely source–representatives of the shipwreck’s victims.
Why are they listening to him?
While there is little doubt that operator error was at least partly to blame for the crash, Schettino’s attorneys and those for victim’s relatives have raised questions about other possible factors, such as the emergency pumps, generators, and elevators that failed to work after the ship ran aground. Many relatives of the dead as well as injured survivors contend that the casualty and injury rates were much higher than they would have been had those emergency systems been operational.
In response to requests from both the captain and relatives of the dead, the presiding judge ordered an inspection of the damaged Costa Concordia, which was recently raised in an enormous salvage project.
Evidence of prior damage to systems that should have been in working order may serve some exculpatory purpose for Capt. Francesco Schettino, who is currently facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.