Concordia captain let off too lightly. Shame, shame!

schettinoI am not one of those people who delight in lambasting the Italian justice system at every turn (except for its excruciating slowness, of which I myself have been a victim). But to sentence the Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, to only 16 years in jail appears totally ridiculous.

Thirty-two people died in the January 2012 shipwreck on Giglio Island involving the mammoth Costa line cruise ship because of this man’s hubris, smart-aleck behavior and general lack of professionalism.

To make things even worse, a court in Grosseto (Tuscany) ruled that Schettino, 52, is not a flight risk and therefore will not be jailed until the three-part Italian justice process comes to a final end, which could be a couple of years (or more) down the road.

To sum it up, the court sentenced Schettino to 10 years for multiple manslaughter, five years for causing the shipwreck and one year for abandoning his passengers. He also received a one month civil penalty for failure to report the accident correctly.

Everyone I ran into today believes this was shameful and not an appropriate punishment for what ended in tragedy for 32 families. Furthermore, Schettino’s behavior after the ship ran aground, which probably occurred because of his decision to do an inchino, a sort of tilting bow towards the island, was a black mark on the reputation of the Italian merchant marine.

Claiming he “fell” into a lifeboat, he arrived safely on land hours before all the thousands of passengers were evacuated. This act of cowardice was immortalized when Captain Gregorio De Falco, an infuriated coast guard official in nearby Livorno (Leghorn), whose recorded telephone call entered the annals of posterity, ordered him to get back on his ship, yelling “Torna a bordo, cazzo”, which roughly (and more politely) translated means “Get back on board, goddamnit”. That is the only good memory of a horrible and inexcusable tragedy (that, and the fact that only a day or so later Neapolitan hawkers were already selling T-Shirts printed with the now memorable “cazzo” phrase.

One Response to “Concordia captain let off too lightly. Shame, shame!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *