Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that is sinking off Italy's west coast, is facing 15 years in prison on charges of manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing a shipwreck, according to the New York Daily News.
The shipwreck caused the death of 11 of the more than 4,200 people who were on board. More than 20 people are reported missing. Rescuers fished out the bodies of four men and a woman on Wednesday.
Capt. Mario Palombo, a former captain of the Costa Concordia, has told the media that the embattled Schettino is a braggart and a show-off. He also said Schettino drove the liner like a Ferrari.
The Daily Mail reported that Palmobo told La Republica that he had to put Schettino in his place on more than one occasion when Schettino was a deputy on the ship.
The Costa Concordia ran aground on Friday and Schettino was arrested the next day on suspicion of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. An Italian judge on Tuesday, placed Schettino under house arrest.
Costa Cruises Apologizes
Pier Luigi Foschi the boss of Costa Cruises has since apologized for the incident and has said that the company cannot deny that the shipwreck happened because of a human error.
This route was put in correctly. The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a maneuver by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorized and unknown to Costa, Foschi told the BBC. He wanted to show the ship, to [go] nearby this island of Giglio, so he decided to change the course of the ship to go closer to the island.
Schettino has blamed the cruise ship's crash on rocks that were allegedly not on his chart.
A transcript of the conversation between Schettino and Italian port authority showed that the captain as ordered back onto the sinking cruise ship to coordinate the rescue operation.
However, it seems as of Schettino told the official that the evacuation was almost done when it actually never got started.
No. I'm not on board because the bows of the ship are coming up. We've abandoned reportedlher, Schettino tells the official.
What? You've abandoned ship? Schettino was asked.
No. What abandon? I'm here. Schettino said.
You must return on board. Climb the ladder (rope ladder), return to the fore (stem) and coordinate the work, the port authority official told Schettino.
You must tell us how many people are on board, how many women, how many children. You have to coordinate the rescue operation. Commander, this is an order. Now I'm in charge, you have abandoned ship and now you are going to go to the stem and coordinate the work. There are already dead bodies.
To that Schettino asked, How many?
And the port authority official responded, You should be the one telling me this...What do you want to do? Do you want to go home? ... Now go back on the stem and tell me what to do.
Civil suits planned
More than 70passengers who on the ship when the incident happened have joined a class action lawsuit with Italian consumer rights association Codacons.
Carlo Rienzi, who heads the association, told the Agence France-Presse that he is looking to get at least $12,773 compensation for material damage for all the passengers.
Who is Schettino?
Who really is Francesco Schettino? Was he really a man that doesn't possess the decisive quality needed to run the ship?
Here's what different reports say about the skipper:
- He is 52 year old and was born in the town of Castellammare di Stabia, near the southern city of Naples.
- He attended a nautical institute in the town of Paino di Sorrento.
- His family now lives in the Naples town of Meta.
- His mother's family was shipowners and goes back for generations.
- His father, Luigi, was born inland near Caserta, but later moved to Amalfi Coast.
- His sister Giulia told the Naples daily Il Mattino that Schettino loves the sea. He has always worked as an officer. He has a long career behind him.
- His sister said Schettino started his career with the ferry company Tirrenia, before working for the petroleum group Agip. He then joined Carnival, a US-based with brands such as P&O, Cunard and Holland America.
- He joined Costa Cruises in 2002 as an official in charge of security and was promoted to captain in 2006. He was given command of the newly launched Costa Concordia, a , 114,500-ton ship.