Whatever happened to the idea that a ship’s captain “goes down with his ship,” or at least ensures everyone else is safe before he jumps off?
Lee Joon-seok was piloting a South Korean ferry this week when it tipped over and sank. He fled the ship mere minutes after sending out a distress call.
He now says he is “deeply ashamed.” Imagine that.
Rescuers are working feverishly to search for possible survivors still trapped aboard the partially submerged ferry. They’re pumping air into the ship hoping to find folks holed up in sealed compartments. Several lives already are lost.
Meanwhile, the captain of the ferry has some serious explaining to do, not unlike the captain of the Italian cruise ship that ran aground in a shipwreck that killed several passengers off the coast of Italy. He, too, was one of those who fled aboard a life boat, leaving passengers and crew members stranded. That former captain has been banished from ever having a ship command.
Something tells me this isn’t going to end well, either, for Lee Joon-seok.
The Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the Italian coast, is now sitting upright in shallow water.
Sometimes acts of engineering and technology can be simply amazing. This is one of those acts.
The Costa Concordia ran into some rocks off an island near the Italian coast in January 2012. The wreck killed 32 people, with two individuals still listed as missing. It tipped over on its starboard (right) side, where it laid until this morning. Italian engineering crews took 19 hours to right the ship and begin the equally arduous task of now getting it ready to be towed to a dry dock where, I’m guessing, it’s going to repaired and prepared to set sail once again.
I’ve got to hand it to the Italian engineers and environmentalists who worked together on this project. There had been fear that toxic substances would spill into the Mediterranean Sea, which is why the environmentalists got involved.
The sheer size of the ship, more than 100,000 tons, made this a monumental ordeal.
Now comes the harder part: Prosecuting the captain of the ship who allegedly abandoned his post while the ship was taking on water and listing so severely it couldn’t be saved.
Capt. Francesco Schettino has been charged with manslaughter in the deaths of the passengers aboard his ship. As captain of the ship, everyone on board is his responsibility. Schettino’s excuses and denials seem ridiculously lame in hindsight. No doubt he’ll hire a good lawyer to defend him.
If they thought getting the Costa Concordia off its side was difficult, convicting this captain — who, from all that I’ve read was derelict in his duty — could present an even tougher challenge.