Francesco Schettino, the captain of the doomed cruise liner Costa Concordia, knew as soon as his ship struck a rock off the island of Giglio on January 13 that he had made a catastrophic error and a 30-year career at sea was ending in disgrace.
Bringing the 114,500 tonne vessel to within a stone’s throw of shore, he had intended to perform a “salute” to the island for the benefit of Antonello Tievoli, the ship’s head waiter and a native of Giglio.
But as he came to within a quarter of a nautical mile of the coast, in water he believed to be deep enough to be safe, he saw foam breaking on what appeared to be a submerged outcrop and turned sharply, exposing the side of the hull to the sharp rock.
“I may have done something rash, I did do something rash, but God would have made it alright for me if I hadn’t set the rudder to starboard,” he told magistrates investigating the accident, according to a transcript.
Full story: Cruise ship disaster captain knew “it was over”