The Canadian newsmagazine show, The Fifth Estate, will air an exclusive interview on Friday with the disgraced captain of the doomed Costa Concordia. In the show, Francesco Schettino says the ship's sinking was an accident and that he was not negligent.
"It's not a crime, it's an accident," he told the CBC news show. "And there is a difference between crime and accident. In this case, it's being treated like a crime, and I don't understand why."
The disaster took the lives of 32 passengers and crew. It happened after the Costa Concordia sailed too close to the shore of the Italian island of Giglio in the Tuscan Bay. Schettino has been painted throughout Italy, and the world, as responsible and awaits trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship.
Schettino: Blames Concordia crew member
Schettino talked with NBC’s Michelle Kosinski on The Today Show in July, his first interview with North American TV since the disaster, and said much the same thing. He did at that time take some responsibility, saying "I take my responsibility, of course, as a gentleman, as a man, as a captain, I take my responsibility. I am not blaming anybody. I am clear with my conscience."
This time, however, he did blame at least one of his crew, though not by name. He said that when he arrived on the bridge after he'd dined, the Costa Concordia was not on the course he had ordered and was sailing toward rocks. Schettino says he immediately took control and ordered a turn to port (to the left) but that the turn the ship took was to starboard (the right). He says the ship's black box will bear out his version of events.
The 52-year-old also told The Fifth Estate's Bob McKeown he delayed the order to abandon the ship as he did not want to panic the passengers, saying that he feared if one passenger were to panic that might set off a chain reaction. "It's only one passenger that starts to give the example to jump overboard, and you can provoke a kind of hysteria," he said "Mass hysteria. And that would have been the worst thing to happen."
Costa Concordia black box recordings
The beleaguered captain, whose movements are being monitored by the court, has said that he is writing a book and claims it will also exonerate him of wrongdoing. To date however, witnesses and exerts from the black box recordings that were published by the Italian newspaper. La Stampa, do not bear out Schettino's version of events.
The ship remains 300 meters offshore of the island while an American company, Titan Salvage, and an Italian company, Micoperi, work to refloat it and tow it to a port for scrapping; they are hoping to have it refloated by the Spring.