CNN's New Day Reports: Costa Captain Says "Not My Fault"

Yesterday morning, CNN's New Day aired a short program about Captain Schettino's testimony at his criminal trial. He claims that he is not to blame for the deadly Concordia disaster.    

CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports on the story.

I was interviewed briefly in the program.

You can read about the story here.

You can also read about my thoughts about Captain Schettino's testimony here.  

 

 

Captain Schettino Blames Helmsman for Sinking the Concordia

Maritime Lawyer Jim Walker - Cruise LawIn yesterday's criminal trial against Captain Schettino, the disgraced captain of the doomed Costa Concordia testified that the disaster was not his fault, but was due to the error of the helmsman who failed to promptly follow his orders to turn the cruise ship away from the rocks.

Schettino testified that when he arrived in the bridge, he told the officer at the helm to turn the rudder to the left, which would have pulled the stern to the right and possibly avoided the rocks. But there was a delay of around 12 to 13 seconds, and the helmsman turned the rudder to the right.

The problem with Schettino's defense is that it was Captain Schettino who decided to divert the cruise ship from its scheduled route and head the ship directly toward Giglio in the first place.  The cruise ship then sailed four miles off course heading dangerously close to the rocky island.  

Sailing a ship off course like this, at high speed, in the night is ill conceived. Its not much different than altering the scheduled course of a 747 aircraft and flying it toward a mountain to show off. It's hardly a defense to Captain Schettinothe captain's malfeasance by returning to the cockpit at the last second and telling a subordinate officer to try and make a last ditch emergency maneuver to avoid crashing the plane. Thar's just additional evidence of the captain's recklessness.

Captain Schettino also complained that Costa should shoulder some of the blame because the Costa nautical maps did not accurately depict the rocky shoals which the Concordia struck.  I say hogwash to that, because the cruise ship should not have been anywhere near Giglio. The granite rocks around Giglio are part of the geological structure of the earth and have existed for over a million years. If the maps on the ship are not perfect and miss a rock or two, Schettino nonetheless planned to head the ship directly on what essentially was a collision course with the island of Giglio.

The 32 deaths are due in large part due to the captain's delay in ordering the evacuation of the passengers and crew. The helmsman had nothing to do with that. My opinion is that the Italian court will find Schettino guilty of all counts: causing the shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning ship.

Schettino's game of blaming everyone except himself must be particularly painful to the families of the Captan Schettino - Costa Concordia32 dead passengers and crew who are trying to heal from the horror of losing their loved ones on Captain Schettino's ship. It also reveals a lack of remorse and a continuing arrogance which hopefully the court will consider in sentencing the cowardly captain.

CNN interviewed me about Schettino's testimony this morning on its program "New Day." The images are from the CNN program this morning.

Shameful: Costa Concordia Plea Deals Pervert Justice & Disrespect Victims

The big news this weekend in the on-again off-again Costa Concordia trial was the announcement that five Costa employees were sentenced to jail time for manslaughter in the death of 32 Concordia cruise passengers and crew members.

But you will see no photographs of the five men in court in handcuffs because there will be no actual jail time to be served, according to most news accounts. They will be serving suspended sentences. There appears to be no fines levied against the men in question:

Helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin:

Captain Schettino Costa ConcordaHotel Director Manrico Giampedroni:

Bridge Officer Ciro Ambrosio:

Crisis Coordinator Roberto Ferrarini; and 

Bridge Officer Silvia Coronica.

The bridge officers and the helmsman were sentenced to between 20 and 23 months in prison, while the hotel director received a two-year sentence, The crisis coordinator received a 34-month sentence.

Lawyers for the victims expressed their disgust with the sentences:

"The plea bargains are unacceptable, they shouldn't have been proposed or accepted. These sentences are ridiculous in the face of 32 dead,' said Gabriele dalle Luche in the Daily Mail, who represents a group of Russian passengers.

The BBC reports that Massimiliano Gabrielli, lawyer for the group Justice for Concordia, compared the "shameful" short length of the sentences to the seven years given to Emilio Fede, who was convicted of procuring prostitutes for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The plea bargains leave disgraced cruise ship captain Schettino as the sole defendant. 

Many have criticized the legal proceeding, saying that Costa itself should also be on trial.  The cruise line previously agreed to a fine of $1.3 million to avoid all criminal charges. 

Domnica Cemortan Costa ConcordiaAs soon as the trial began, it was interrupted by a national strike by Italian lawyers. The trial has been again delayed after the lawyers for Schettino requested an opportunity to conduct tests on the cruise ship which remains capsized in the port of Giglio.

The trial itself has been a bizarre spectacle.  It is taking place in a large theater which may be an appropriate venue for such drama.

Captain Schettino has appeared in his sporty blue coat and sunglasses.  His alleged paramour, Moldovan dancer and former Costa hostess Domnica Cemortan, made an appearance to support Schettino. She was wearing attire suitable to a cocktail party and disrespectful to the dead passengers and crew members, while posing for the cameras. Her appearance added to the scandalous nature of the proceedings, given the fact that she is suing Costa for hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to newspapers, "for the damage to her reputation after it became known that Mr Schettino, who is married with young children, had wined and dined her aboard the Concordia." 

The soap opera is expected to resume in September.

 

Phorto Credits:

Schettino: The Independent

Ms.Cemortan: news.au

More Concordia Craziness: Scorned Woman Sues Costa

The Costa Concordia disaster has created some of the weirdest stories I have ever heard of in the field of maritime law. The notion of a playboy captain dining with a young blonde former ship dancer while the cruise ship heads towards disaster would be an improbable movie script if the story were not so real.

Captain Schettino is, of course, the central actor in this absurd drama. “Captain Coward,” as the press labeled him, is heading to trial later this year for manslaughter and abandoning ship. But that did not stop him from filing a lawsuit last year against Costa Crociere alleging that the cruise line wrongfully fired him. A 600 million dollar cruise ship ruined and many passengers and crew dead under his watch, but Master Schettino becomes Plaintiff Schettino looking for compensation himself.

Domnica Cemortan - Costa ConcordiaHow does a disgraced captain who abandoned ship have the chutzpah to seek money damages after causing such death and destruction?

Schettino has a boatload of excuses. Remember that he claims that he “slipped and fell into a lifeboat.” I am surprised that he didn’t hire a personal injury lawyer to sue the cruise ship company for that too.

And now the Schettino-Costa Concordia story gets even weirder.

According to the Telegraph, Schettino’s alleged girlfriend on the ship, Domnica Cemortan, has announced that she too is suing Costa as well as Schettino himself.

You will recall that Ms. Cemortan was the captain’s dinner companion on the night of the disaster who somehow ended up on the bridge when all hell was breaking loose. She claims that Costa failed to re-hire her and she lost income as a result. She also claims that Costa and Schettino failed to protect her image and reputation. She is threatening to sue the Italian newspapers which labeled her as Schettino’s paramour and portrayed her in an endless series of bikini photos.

Isn’t this the same person who reportedly professed her love for the captain shortly after the disaster? Did Ms. Cemortan really expect that this coward of a captain, who abandoned his ship and thousands of his passengers and crew members, would somehow protect her honor?

I suppose that it’s expected to have hard feelings when your dinner date kills 32 passengers and crew members, abandons ship, and doesn’t call you the next morning. 

 

Photo Credit: genova.ogginotizie.it

News Channel 7 Investigates "Captain of Controversy" Francesco Schettino - Coward or Scapegoat?

Miami news station WSVN - 7 aired an interesting interview with Francesco Schettino last night and asked: Is he a coward who caused 32 people to die the night his ship the Costa Concordia capsized? Or is he is a professional who did all that he could to avert disaster due to mistakes by his crew? 

An Italian judge is in the process of considering evidence whether criminal charges should be filed against him and other Costa employees. 

Schettino blames his bridge team for navigating off-course towards the island and then failing to properly conduct the course change he ordered. He calls the incident an accident and questions why the prosecutors are trying to turn the incident into a crime.

The helmsman, from Indonesia, left the jurisdiction and will not return to Italy for trial if one is ordered.

Channel 7's investigation does not address the events which followed the cruise ship striking the rocks.

WSVN-TV -

Criminal Case Continues Against Captain Schettino - Island of Giglio Requests Compensation of 80,000,000 Euros

Giglio Costa ConcordiaA court in Italy is proceeding with preliminary hearings to consider evidence whether Captain Francesco Schettino will face trial for criminal charges for his involvement in the Costa Concordia disaster. 

Schettino, labelled "Captain Calamity" in the press, appeared at the proceedings yesterday, faces a trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. 

The Italian prosecutors requested the indictment of four crew members in the case, including the ship's helmsman, as well as Costa employee Roberto Ferrarini, the head of Costa Crociere's "crisis unit" who is accused of delaying the evacuation of the cruise ships.

The island of Giglio, which is the site of the stricken vessel, has requested permission to sue Captain Schettino, alleging that the island's image as a beautiful tourist spot has been irreparably damaged by the disaster. The island's lawyers are seeking damages of 80 million euros.

The Costa Concordia remains in the water at the entrance to the island's harbor.  Image courtesy of Giglio News.

Chaos, Confusion & Fear Aboard Costa Concordia

Costa Concordia Cruise ShipNewspapers in Europe are reporting on the contents of the legal submissions made by the Italian prosecutors who have been collecting evidence regarding the Costa Concordia disaster.

Sky News has an interesting video which you can watch here

You can hear about 5 year old Dayana Arlotti who drown along with her father after they were denied seats on a lifeboat and then directed to the other side of the cruise ship.

Crew member Giuseppe Girolamo drowned after he gave up his place on a lifeboat for another person who survived the ordeal.

Prosecutors are seeking criminal trials against Captain Schettino (for manslaughter and abandoning ship) as well as other Costa employees. 

Captain Schettino to Tell "Shocking Truth" in New Book

Just when you'd think that the Costa Concordia story could not get any weirder, this week the infamous Captain Francesco Schettino announced that he is writing a book about the events surrounding the disaster. He promises to tell a "completely different story" than what has been reported to date.

So what is the "shocking truth" he teases the public about?

That "I am not captain coward."

Oh Lord save us all.  First we have him cavorting about the cruise ship with his blonde girlfriend. Then Captain Coward - Schettino - Chicken of the Seashe goes into a funk for an hour or two after he crashes the cruise ship into the rocks. When he returns to reality and tries to save his own hide from the sinking ship, he "slips and falls" into a lifeboat. When the Italian Coast Guard commander catches up with the fleeing captain, Schettino ignores the Coast Guard's order to return to the ship. He hires a lawyer and sues the cruise line for wrongful termination. He later says that he's really the hero for saving lives and, to top it off, says that the "Hand of God" touched him to navigate the ship to safety.

Oh Captain, may the hand of God be placed squarely over your babbling mouth!

Now we have a tell-all book from the Costa captain to look forward to.  Maybe a great Christmas present for your friends?

Let's hope that someone sues Schettino and obtains a judicial decree ordering all of the proceeds of the captain coward's book sales to go to the families of the people he killed. 

 

Thought for the day:  Will you buy the captain's new book? Vote on our facebook page

Costa Concordia Hearings: Looking Beyond Schettino

Today's hearing in the packed theater in Grosetto regarding the Costa Concordia disaster adjourned. It was a curious day.

Captain Schettino previously denied all of the legal charges which been mentioned in the press: manslaughter of 32 passengers and crew members, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning ship. But the Chicago Tribune reports that when Schettino met face-to-face with some survivors and families of the dead, believe it or not, he apologized to them.

There appears to be a tactic acknowledgment, it seems to me, that Schettino admits to his part in causing the accident, notwithstanding his insensitive and egotistic rantings over the past many months. Now his defense lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, wishes to spread the blame around.

U.S. personal injury lawyers who attended the hearing are eager to help with that task. Two American lawyers were mentioned in the press, Mississippi lawyer John Eaves and New York lawyer Peter Ronai. Ronai's comment outside of the hearings "there was no reason for anyone to die" was widely circulated. It resonated with me. 

The U.S. lawyers are on the scene looking to cull evidence that may help their lawsuits filed against Costa and parent cruise line Carnival in the U.S.  Eaves filed a highly publicized lawsuit against Carnival in Galveston and even temporarily seized a Carnival cruise ship earlier this year.  Ronai made the news by filing a lawsuit on behalf of 4 Hungarian dancers employed on the Concordia in which he sued for the astronomical sum of $200,000,000.

None of these lawsuits filed in the U.S. will make it to trial, as I have stated before, and will be dismissed with leave to re-file them in Italy.  But the focus of the lawyers for survivors and Schettino are united: point the finger at the executives ashore in Italy as well as in Miami where Carnival is based. Yes, Schettino's negligence is obvious and his attitude is maddening. But there many factors that played a part in 32 people dying unnecessary, just a few hundred feet from the little port of Giglio. 

Poor training, out-of-date maps which lacked detail, malfunctioning equipment, language barriers, and a corporate culture of recklessness have all been cited as examples of corporate malfeasance which may have played a part - perhaps a secondary part - in causing the deaths.

  

 

Video credit; AP

Who's to Blame? Costa Concordia Criminal Hearing Begins in Italy

Today the hearing begins in Grosseto, Italy to determine who should be named as defendants in the criminal trial involving the deadly Costa Concordia disaster.

The potential defendants from the cruise ship include infamous Captain Schettino who was at the helm when he maneuvered the ship into the rocks, as well as the ship’s second-in-command, three officers who were on the bridge, and a safety official who falsely told the Italian Coast Guard the cruise ship merely experienced an electrical failure.  

Executives of Costa are also being investigated for their roles in the accident.

The international press is closely covering the hearing. Maritime and scientific experts are expected to Costa Concordia Cruise Shiptestify based on their review of "black box" data and other information. The Italian judge will review the expert's' findings and opinions to determine who should stand trial. 

Hundreds of survivors and their counsel are expected to attend, 

Costa's plan has been to dump all of the blame on its captain, which is easy to do given his conduct. But there remains concerns that the cruise line supplied out of date maps and poorly trained the crew. How all of this plays out should be interesting.

The fact that hearings like this and a trial will take place are rather remarkable events. Most maritime casualties involving cruise ships do not end up with trials like this. Lots of information has already been "leaked."  If the disaster involved a cruise ship flagged in places like the Bahamas or Panama, there would be no hearings or trials whatsoever. Those countries would certainly exonerate their cruise line masters who choose to register their ships in and pay fees to third world flag states for friendly treatment.

Italy - where the Concordia was flagged and Costa is based - should be applauded for the efficiency and professionalism demonstrated by the Italian court system so far.

 

Photo credit: CNN

Chutzpah: Captain Schettino Sues Costa

Everyone is talking about the disgraced Costa cruise captain Schettino's outrageous lawsuit against Costa claiming that the cruise line wrongfully terminated his employment.

The outrage is appropriate.  After all, this is a captain who interrupted dinner with his mistress only long enough to run his ship into the rocks and kill 32 of his crew and guests and then hop into a lifeboat and leave the carnage he caused behind. 

What are the words that come to mind when you think of this captain?  "Coward" and "chicken" come to my mind.

With news of his lawsuit against Costa, another word which starts with "c" comes to mind - "chutzpah," a Yiddish word meaning audacity.  

Law blogger Eugene Volokh noted in an article entitled Lawsuit Shmawsuit that the word chutzpah has been used 231 times in American legal opinions, 220 times after 1980.

Shortly after the Concordia disaster, I tweeted what I thought was an outlandish joke, namely that captain Schettino had hired me to file a slip-and-fall lawsuit against Costa after Schettino tried to justify his abandonment of the ship by claiming that he somehow slipped and fell into a lifeboat.  Little could I comprehend that the captain would have the audacity to actually file a lawsuit against Costa.

When the criminal trial against Schettino is over, lets hope that he is convicted of all charges pending against him. And he is also found guillty of chutzpah.  

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?

Costa Concordia's Captain Schettino Returns to the Sea

The Sun newspaper in the U.K. published a photo this weekend of disgraced Costa Captain Francesco Schettino aboard a power boat in the Mediterranean. 

The Sun reports that Captain Schetino "wore swimming trunks as he took to the waves near his home in Sorrento, Italy."

A friend of his was at the helm for a while, according to the newspaper, and then handed control of the recreational boat over to Schettino.

Apparently, nothing prevents the former Costa captain from operating pleasure craft even though he sailed a $500 million luxury liner into a reef earlier this year and killed 32 of his passengers. 

Images like this of the captain must make the families of the victims blood boil.

Six Months After Costa Concordia Disaster, Ship Remains Offshore

 

Video: CBS  "Captain Schettino remains the most reviled man in Italy." 

Paid Over $60,000 for Interview, Captain Schettino Still Can't Offer Genuine Apology to Concordia Cruise Victims

The big news coming our of Italy as we approach the 6 month anniversary of the Costa Concordia disaster is an interview the infamous Francesco Schettino gave to an Italian television channel.

Now that an Italian court has released Captain Schettino from house release and lifted the gag order imposed on him in January, we have the first extensive interview of the disgraced captain since he ran the luxury cruise ship into the rocks and killed 32 passengers and crew members.

The interview was conducted by Italy's Canale 5, which is owned by controversial former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

From what I have read and listened to, it doesn't seem like Schettino has learned much during his sentence of house arrest Costa Concordia Captain Schettinoand 6 months of silence and self-reflection.  Yes, he eventually got around to an apology but it was mixed in with denials, excuses, a bruised ego, and a nervous eye twitch. The low points:

He said he was a "victim" claiming he was not in charge at the time of the wreck;

He claims he was distracted by a telephone call;

He claims that the rock the cruise ship hit was not charted; 

He says it was just an accident and not a crime; 

He does not regret delaying the deployment of the life boats; and 

His dinner companion blond hostess Domnica Cemortan was just a friend and did not enter the bridge.

Several news sources report that Schettino received 50,000 Euros (over $60,000) for the interview although the Italian news station denied paying him anything.

The U.K.'s Mail Online reports that after the interview aired, the news station's website was "bombarded with angry comments towards Schettino."  

One read: "I was on the ship that night with two children and they didn't let me onto a lifeboat. Schettino and most of the crew deserve nothing."  Another read: "Schettino you are a coward. A captain never abandons ship. Shame on you,"

 

 

Delusional & Grandiose: Captain Schettino Claims That He & God Diverted Disaster!

Captain Schettino - Costa Concordia Earlier today I blogged that the Italian judges released Costa Captain Schettino of the doomed Concordia cruise ship from house arrest. The judges also released him from the strict prohibition against speaking with anyone other than his lawyer and close family friends.  

So by this afternoon we have one of Captain Schettino's first statements.

It's a whopper.

AFP quotes Schettino saying that a "divine hand" guided him and saved lives. 

"A divine hand surely touched my head . . . If I had continued on that path the ship's prow would have hit the rock. It would have been carnage." 

"There are those who say the impact with the stern was caused because I was suffering from a hallucination. What hallucination! It was rather my instinct, my skills, the ability to know the sea and suddenly change direction."

Ah, a coward captain who killed 32 innocent souls but now thanks himself and his co-pilot God.

The Italian judges should send Schettino to a mental institution.   

Costa Captain Schettino Released From House Arrest

Captain Schettino - Costa ConcordiaReuters is reporting that yesterday Italian judges released the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship  from house arrest. 

Francesco Schettino was arrested following his abandonment of the Concordia on on January 13th in a disaster in which 30 passengers and crew died and two people are lost and presumed dead.

The judges in Grosseto, Italy said Schettino would no longer have to remain confined to his home in Meta di Sorrento but would have to remain in his home town. He would also no longer be bound by the strict conditions of house arrest which prevented him from communicating with anyone other his lawyer and close family.

According to Reuters, the judges indicated that the time Schettino spent under house arrest had a deterrent effect and he would remain under supervision by authorities.

Schettino faces charges of multiple counts of manslaughter, causing the accident and abandoning ship prematurely. 

January 2012 - Spotlight on Cruise Ship Dangers - Do You Trust Cruise Lines and Travel Agents?

Last month was an ugly, ugly month for the cruise industry.

January 2012 will long be remembered as the month that brought us the death and destruction surrounding the the Costa Concordia cruise ship, resulting in the media asking us- is it safe to cruise?

Lots of other really bad things have been happening in the world of cruising this new year before the Concordia disaster, seemingly non-stop, since January 1st.

The month started ominously when multiple rapes were reported on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas which returned to Fort Lauderdale on January 2nd.  Sexual crimes against women and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rapechildren are the cruise industry's nasty secret.  Cruise lines say that such crimes are "rare."  But that's just PR spin.  Click on the categories "Rape," "Sexual Assault," and "Sexual Assault of Children" (to the left of my blog).  There are more stories than you can stand to read; you will never read them all.  And my blog is less than two and one-half years old.

On January 12th we reported on a Royal Caribbean crewmember raping a fourteen year old girl on the Adventure of the Seas cruise ship.  Yes shocking.  But not really if you have your pulse on the dark side of cruise industry.  There are numerous cases like this on Royal Caribbean and Carnival each year, that the cruise lines don't want you to know about.     

In-house attorneys at the cruise lines joked about all of this being "job security." 

On January 21st we reported on the blockbuster story out of the U.K. about a Cunard crewmember who is suspected of sexually abusing children during cruises.  Cunard refuses to identify the job position of the the former crew member, "but he is known to have been a low-ranking employee who had regular, close contact with passengers on board" according to the press in England.   

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rape Was the Cunard employee a youth counselor or a stateroom attendant, the two most likely job positions for crewmembers who prey on innocent children?  We have been contacted by former passengers who are frightened by the prospect that a child predator was working for Cunard while they vacationed with their children aboard the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth cruise ships.  But Cunard will provide no details regarding when and where the alleged predator worked.

Sexual molestation of kids on cruises is well known to the cruise insiders.  Some cruise lines hide the problem and stay out of the press better than others.   

But who is thinking of children and infants being sexually abused by cruise line perverts when the  world is preoccupied by the Costa Concordia disaster?

The cruise lines were quick to claim that such incidents, like rapes, overboard disappearances and anything else that may embarrass them, are "rare."  But in truth, cruise ship catastrophes are not rare at all; just over four years ago the Sea Diamond sank in Greek waters, with loss of life, after the cruise ship's captain ran the ship into a charted reef.  Yes, a reef that had been there for like several hundred million years.

You can read about lots of other disasters, collisions, allisions, near-misses and fires, which the cruise lines don't want you to know about, here.   

Admittedly, disasters with such soap-opera-drama like the Costa Concordia debacle are not a dCaptain Schettino Girlfriendaily occurrence.  Can you believe that at the time of the crash the captain was eating dinner and drinking wine with a 25 year old woman, formerly employed on the ship, who I have called the cruise "blonde bimbo?" 

Just today, this young woman, whose photographs in a bikini are plastered all over the internet, announced her "love" for the married captain to Italian prosecutors.  She also admitted that if women's clothing were found in the captain's quarters, they were probably hers.  Why do I think that when Captain Schettino goes to prison the blonde-in-the-bikini will have his baby?  

Sordid details, no doubt.  17 people are confirmed dead and over two dozen missing, probably trapped in the bowels of the capsized ship, and we have to listen to National Enquirer details of this nutcake captain and his bizarro lover? 

The point being that any notion that the public had left of mature, safety-minded professional mariners at the helm of cruise ships should have been thoroughly destroyed, assuming it was not already by the disgusting circumstances surrounding Captain Schettino's abandonment of the ship as captured by the high spirited dialogue between the cowardly captain and Italian Coast Guard Commander Gregorio de Falco.

And what do you think subordinate women crewmembers face when they are sexually abused and harassed on cruise ships with the likes of cowardly Captain Schettino setting the moral compass?  

And speaking of cowards, Carnival CEO Micky Arison hides under the covers in his 200 foot luxury yacht.  He re-emerges only during a Miami Heat game while his cruise guests float and bloat in the sarcophagus of the sunken cruise ship.    

Captain Schettino - Coward of the Seas The hard core cruise fanatics and travel agents, who are flipped out by losing ticket sales posed by the ugly spectacle unfolding around them, are frantically trying to convince the public that cruising is the "safest method of mass transportation."  The talking points babbled by the cruise shills include the big lie that there have been only 16 dead in the last 100 million passengers on a cruise ship. 

Nonsense.

We have witnessed 33 dead or missing just the last month on the Concordia alone.  Our blog has reported on hundreds of dead passengers and crew (they are people too, right?) due to gross medical negligence, foul play, suicide, lifeboat accidents, slip and fall accidents, out-of-control drinking, violence, murder, excursion mishaps, fires,drownings, and so forth.    

Add to the numerous dead Costa passengers and crew this month, the dead Carnival passenger who fell from one deck to the atrium lobby below, and the dead Royal Caribbean passenger who slipped and fell on steps out side of a disco late at night and somehow died after an hour in the ship infirmary.  Don't forget the over-board from the MSC Poesia

Apologists for the cruise lines will suggest that these incidents may have involved some or a lot of alcohol consumed by the dead.  It's a matter of personal responsibility.  It's their fault, they say.

ABC News' 20/20 recent show contained lots of YouTube videos of wasted passengers on Costa Concordia Cruise Shipcruises.  Oh how the cruise fans were incensed by the 20/20 cruise ship special.  Say what you want, whether the ABC show was over-the-top or right-on-point, excessive alcohol consumption by many passengers is common and encouraged by the cruise lines.  There's a direct correlation between lots of cruise booze and sexual crimes, overboards and death. 

After all, it was Captain Schettino, who was into the vino with his blonde former-crewmember-squeeze, enjoying dinner with dreams of the evening ahead when all hell broke loose.  Yes, it's a matter of responsibility.  It's the captain's fault and his cruise line employer cronies who were running the floating cruise fraternity house, I say.   

Is cruising safe?   It depends who you ask.  Call one of the 16,000 CLIA travel agents. They will happily tell you (while they make their percentage on the sale) that cruising is perfectly safe!  Come aboard.  Leave your kids in the kid's center.  Trust us.  Have fun!

Does anyone believe the cruise lines and travel agents anymore after last month?

Unbelievable . . .

Click on "CC" on player for English subtitles: