Local Ship Captain Offers Insight On Responsibilities
PITTSBUGH (KDKA) – The captain of the Italian cruise ship that capsized at sea is under fire.
A newly-released transcript details Captain Francesco Schettino’s refusal to get back on board the sinking ship and help evacuate the passengers.
Schettino told the Coast Guard he was on a lifeboat trying to coordinate the rescue efforts, but there are questions about his moral, legal and ethical responsibilities.
In Pittsburgh, the Gateway Clipper Fleets pale in comparison to the size of the Costa Concordia and hold far fewer passengers.
However, what remains the same are the obligations of any captain to the ship.
On the Gateway Clipper, Captain Ryan Newton said every time he gets behind the helm the first priority is always passenger safety.
Even here on the three rivers, evacuation plans and emergency drills are a requirement by the Coast Guard.
However, Captain Newton said there are misconceptions about the notion that a captain must go down with his ship.
He also said the ethical code of what to do is handed down from captain to captain.
“Is it handed down that the captain goes down with the ship? Not necessarily. Obviously, you take care of every passenger, every crew member first. Then, you take care of yourself,” Captain Newton said.
There are questions if Captain Schettino of the Costa Concordia followed that unwritten moral obligation, as thousands tried to escape off the coast of Giglio.
While laws in the Italy may be different, here, the captain must answer for the decisions made.
“The regulations are written such that the Master is responsible for the vessel, in that, afterword, you may have to answer to the Coast Guard for decisions you made, but the decisions to be made are made by the Master of the vessel,” Captain Newton.
The primary goal of any captain is to provide a safe ride and to remain in control of any situation.