The captain of the Costa Concordia, which ran aground a year ago leaving 32 dead, understands why people “hate” him, but said he has no regrets.
The cruise ship carrying vacationers hit the rocks off the Italian island Giglio when it went off its preprogrammed course so that islanders could get a better view of the vessel.
In an interview with NBC News, the captain, Francesco Schettino, who is accused of multiple manslaughters and wrecking and abandoning ship (he reportedly left the ship before it had been emptied of passengers), said he was misunderstood.
“Everybody believes that I was escaping from the sinking ship,” he said. However, Schettino recalled that he “tried to make an effort to make sure that I was the last one to leave the ship—from the sinking side."
He added that the blame should be shared with lower-ranking officers on the ship that night, who, he claims, handed control of the ship over to him minutes before running aground. He said, "I regret that I was trusting [of that officer]. I was trusting him before the accident, and also after the accident. And I have been living with these things inside me. I will never trust anyone anymore because this was a very deadly mistake."
Schettino also said he had no way of knowing how many people were still on board the ship when he got off: “People don't understand that the ship is 58 meters [nearly 200 feet] wide, so you don't have a chance to see who else is left on the other side. And in the moment the floor started to become steeper, you have no other option: To die, or to swim." He added, “So I regret nothing."
The captain, currently in Naples, declined to attend the memorials held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.