Costa Concordia captain revisits ship
Francesco Schettino, the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia visits the wreck for the first time since it slammed into rocks two years ago, killing 32 people.PT1M13S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-33pc9 620 349 February 28, 2014
Giglio Island, Italy: Italian captain Francesco Schettino lashed out at a media "frenzy" after his first return to the Costa Concordia, saying people who accused him of abandoning the ship had not understood "a bloody thing".
"There is a frenzy that is making me nervous," Mr Schettino told reporters on Thursday in the port off Tuscany where his luxury cruise liner crashed on January 13, 2012, claiming 32 lives.
"You have to respect civility. I don't have anything against you but if you provoke me," the infamous captain said in increasingly angry remarks accompanied by gesticulation and nervous pacing on the dockside.
Francesco Schettino, centre, gestures on board the Costa Concordia. Photo: Reuters
Asked why he had left the ship before all the passengers had been evacuated, Mr Schettino shouted: "You're still talking about abandoning the ship! It means you haven't understood a bloody thing!"
Mr Schettino's visit was part of a court-ordered inspection in the ongoing trial against him for manslaughter and abandoning ship - a charge that earned him the tabloid nickname "Captain Coward".
In a recorded phone call from that dramatic night, a senior coast guard official was heard shouting at Mr Schettino: "Get back on board, for f---'s sake!"
An aerial view shows of Costa Concordia after it crashed last year. Photo: Reuters
Mr Schettino says he fell onto a lifeboat as the ship keeled over and then stayed on dry land to co-ordinate the evacuation from there.
"The ship contains a lot of little secrets. We have to understand what happened in a proper and honest way," said Mr Schettino.
"Other people have plea-bargained but I'm putting my face here!" Schettino said, touching his face, using an Italian expression for making a personal commitment.
Mr Schettino, who was refused a plea bargain, said: "The trial will clear everything up."
Five people including Roberto Ferrarini, the director of ship owner Costa Crociere's crisis unit, and Jacob Rusli Bin, the Indonesian helmsman, have taken plea bargains.
Explaining his delay in giving the order for the evacuation of the ship, Mr Schettino said it was done to avoid panic among the 4229 people on board.
The Costa Concordia, which was carrying people from 70 countries including many on the first night of a Mediterranean cruise, crashed into rocks just off Giglio as it attempted a risky "salute" manoeuvre. It capsized near the shoreline but was righted last year in the biggest salvage operation of its kind. It is due to be towed for scrapping in June.