Safety Foundation Slams Costa Cruises’ Treatment Of Master

The Skagerrak Foundation has raised concern over Carnival and Costa Cruises’ treatment of Costa Concordia’s master Francesco Schettino, and has urged the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control to investigate the company’s safety system.

The foundation said it was alarmed that Carnival and Costa Cruises had issued public statements and drawn conclusions publicly blaming the master without acknowledgement of the company’s responsibility or reference to the International Safety Management code, before any investigation and maritime inquiry

“Maritime authorities must therefore take action. Paris MoU and the member states should take the necessary measures to ensure that the quality of the safety system in Carnival and Costa is satisfactory, and that the ISM code is implemented in the company in accordance with the intentions and visions of this very important regulation,” the foundation said.

The plea from the Skagerrak Foundation comes at the same time that a public relations company working on behalf of Costa Cruises released an interview with chairman and managing director of Costa Cruises Pier Luigi Foschi, who said the firm was suing Capt Schettino and would not pay his legal fees.

In the interview, Mr Foschi refers to Costa Concordia’s captain as an “idiot” and declares that “captains have too much power”.

When asked if Mr Foschi had any suspicions over Capt Schettino’s reliability, he answered that Capt Schettino had “always been regarded as extremely valid from a technical standpoint but he may have the odd little character problem, although nothing has ever been reported formally”.

“The code of shipping places absolute power in the hands of the captain and owners can’t intervene to change decisions,” he said. “There’s an investigation underway. Personally I believe he (Capt Schettino) hasn’t been honest with us. But I have no evidence to say whether or not he was lucid.”

When asked if Costa Cruises focused too much on glamour and not enough on safety, Mr Foschi said: “We don’t scrimp on signalling, safety and supervision systems. But we are, of course, in the business of making dreams come true.”

Capt Schettino has been arrested and as Costa Concodia was flagged in Italy an inquiry is underway to establish why the cruiseship ran aground. The inquiry is being conducted “in close co-operation with the leading harbour authorities” to ascertain the causes and responsibilities that led to the sinking of Costa Concordia.

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