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 and 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,"