Cruise Ship Sinking: Captain Veered Onto 'Unapproved' Course

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Costa Cruises Accident
Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground is seen off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island.

The Costa Crociere company has blamed human error for the grounding and subsequent sinking of the Concordia on Friday, claiming that captain Francesco Schettino made an unapproved, unauthorized and ultimately deadly, maneuver.

This route was put in correctly. The fact that [the ship] left from this course is due solely to a maneuver by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorized and unknown to Costa, Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi stated.

We need to acknowledge the facts, and we cannot deny human error.

Schettino and first officer Ciro Ambrosio have both been detained by Italian police in the city of Grosseto on charges of manslaughter, failure to offer assistance and abandonment of the ship.

Schettino was considered by the company to be a capable captain and the Concordia had passed all recent inspections.

It seems the captain committed errors of judgment that had grave consequences, Costa Concordia's operator said late Sunday.

It appears [Schettino's] decisions in managing the emergency didn't follow the procedures of Costa Crociere, which are in line and, in some cases, go beyond international standards, Costa Crociere, which is owned by Carnival, stated.

The Costa Concordia ran aground by the island of Giglio in Tuscany on Friday night and quickly capsized, after Schettino approached the island in a very awkward way, hit a rock that stuck into its left side, making [the boat] list and take on a huge amount of water in the space of two or three minutes, according to the Agence France Presse.

Most of the 4,200 passengers were evacuated safely, but rescuers have recovered six bodies from the ship. Sixteen people are still missing, but the search was put on hold Monday afternoon after the ship shifted from its rocky perch. Officials fear that if the ship shifts much more its 500,000 gallons of fuel may start leaking.

“At this time, our priority is the safety of our passengers and crew,” Micky Arison, Carnival’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding of the Costa Concordia and especially to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives.”

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