Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Recently released "black box" recordings from the Costa Concordia reveal that Captain Schettino deliberately misled his passengers, the Italian Coast Guard and even his wife about the true conditions of the doomed cruise ship.

Immediately after the collision at 9:45 PM, Schettino is heard saying: "Madonna what have I done?"

He then calls the engine room and asks: "Are we really going down?"

Three minutes later, after learning that the ship is sinking, Schettino instructs an officer on the bridge to tell passengers that "there has been a blackout."

Ten minutes later he calls the Italian Coast Guard and says: "We've had a blackout, we're just evaluating . . . at most we're going to need a tugboat."

For the next hour, he resisted his officers pleas to give an abandon ship order. 

As the delayed evacuation finally started, Schettino called his wife and told her that everything was "under control." 

The voice recordings are not particularly surprising. Remember this is the captain who made certain that his girlfriend was one of the first into a lifeboat.  He left the sinking ship before all of the passengers and crew were in lifeboats, leaving many to die. He tried to justify his abandonment of the ship by claiming that he "tripped" and fell into a lifeboat.  

 

Captain Schettino - Costa Concordia - Liar Liar Pants on Fire

 

“Liar, liar, pants on fire" is a paraphrased version of the 1810 poem “The Liar” by William Blake.

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Shall they dangle in the night?

When I asked of your career
Why did you have to kick my rear
With that stinking lie of thine
Proclaiming that you owned a mine?

When you asked to borrow my stallion
To visit a nearby-moored galleon
How could I ever know that you
Intended only to turn him into glue?

What red devil of mendacity
Grips your soul with such tenacity?
Will one you cruelly shower with lies
Put a pistol ball between your eyes?

What infernal serpent
Has lent you his forked tongue?
From what pit of foul deceit
Are all these whoppers sprung?

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Do they dangle in the night?

Captain Schettino: "I F---ed Up!" - Black Box Reveals the Truth

Yesterday, we discussed Captain Schettino's paid interview with an Italian news station where he blamed a junior officer for the Concordia disaster, claiming that he entered the bridge only after the cruise ship hit the rocks.  He says that he ordered the navigation to be manual in an effort to save the ship.

But today, investigators have leaked information to the Italian press which directly contradict Schettino's "I-didn't-do-it" excuse. The ship's "black box" shows that Schettino disabled the automatic pilot and took control of the ship at 9:39 PM that night - six minutes before the collision at 9:45 p.m. (photo shows Italian Coast Guard recovering black box from cruise ship). 

Costa Concordia Black BoxThe Corriere della Sera newspaper obtained the black box audio recordings which revealed panic on the Concordia's bridge.

According to the Vancouver Sun, an unidentified officer yelled: "Our ass is dragging along the seabed!." Schettino responded: "What did we hit?" to which the officer replied: "The reef."

Another officer said: "It was the salute that he wanted," apparently referring to the "sail by" Schettino tried to perform. At 9:56 PM Schettino telephoned Roberto Ferrarini, an officer at Costa Cruises:

"Roberto, I f-- up!" he said, according to the transcript. "Look, I'm dying here, don't tell me anything."

In the U.S., statements like this are called "excited utterances" and are admissible as evidence to show the defendant's state of mind at the time (before a defendant can begin to plot and scheme and come up with an excuse). 

A preliminary hearing remains scheduled for July 21, 2012 where additional technical information will be submitted to the presiding Italian judge.

 

Photo credit:  Reuters

Unapproved Maps & Faulty Instruments Add To Costa Concordia's Woes

A newspaper in Italy is reporting that the doomed Costa Concordia  was sailing with its sealed doors open, unapproved maps and faulty instruments, based on information leaked from investigators.

The Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera states that a court hearing is scheduled on July 21st when the full results of technical analysis will be revealed. Captain Francesco Schettino and eight others including three executives from Costa Crociere are under investigation.

Costa ConcordiaThe "black box" was also reportedly not working at the time of the capsizing. Emails cited by Corriere della Sera indicate hat the cruise ship was scheduled for repairs. "The Vdr (Voyage Data Recorder) has broken down for the umpteenth time . . . The situation is becoming unbearable," Costa Crociere's technical director Pierfrancesco Ferro is quoted as saying.

An officer on board questioned by investigators also reportedly said sealed doors were open at the time of the impact as "this was a practice used during the navigation to ease the flow of people who were at work."  I assume this refers to the water-tight doors in the lower crew decks,

Costa denies the black box was malfunctioning and blames its captain, Schettino, if the maps on board were not authorized.

When the full results of the technical investigation are revealed later this month, I am sure that there will be enough blame for everyone to be shared.