PUBLIC OPINION > The Captain of the Costa Concordia Should Face Criminal Charges

News 2012/01/17 18:26:32
At the time of writing this, there have been eleven confirmed deaths as a result of the Costa Concordia running aground off of Tuscany, and there are still 24 missing. Many more are injured, locals are concerned about fuel leaks, and no one has any idea how it happened. Many are saying the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is responsible. That assumption is fueled by a black box recording that makes him sound like a frantic chef on "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares." He's being charged with manslaughter, abandoning ship, and causing a shipwreck. We asked SodaHeads if the charges should have been filed.

Should the Captain of the Costa Concordia Face Criminal Charges?

63% Think He Should

It would be one thing to ask if the guy is guilty, but innocent until proven, right? Instead, we asked if the captain should face criminal charges. We also asked if Costa Cruises, a part of Carnival Corp, should face a criminal investigation. Both polls turned up affirmative -- there should be a thorough investigation involving the captain and the corporation. We were interested to find that there were differences in how people voted for each question, though both were pretty strongly in favor.

Undecided About the Captain

There was 16% less support for charging the captain than there was for launching an investigation on Costa, but the "No" vote was exactly the same for both. All of the reduced support was siphoned into the "Undecided" vote, meaning respondents were more hesitant to charge an individual than an organization.

Men Are More Decided

Men and women voted evenly on the Costa investigations, but again there was more variation with the captain. Men were a little bit more likely to have the captain face criminal charges than women, though they were also a little more likely to let him off the hook. More than a third of women were undecided.

Atheists Aren't Convinced

There was hardly any political difference, but religion had a lot of variation in dealing with the captain. Only 38% of atheists were sure the captain should face charges, compared to 61% of Christians. However, atheists and Christians voted almost exactly the same on the Costa investigation.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our original Quick Poll about the Costa Concordia. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • Chris7495110 2012/01/18 06:04:11
    He Left The Ship before everyone was off...That is Not what the captain is suppose to do.The Cruise line did not authorize him to go that close to shore.The captain should be held responsible for it all.The cruise line will have a lot of money to pay out in civil suits as another person said and I am sure they will be held accountable for the captain's actions.Bottom Line The Man Is A COWARD!!!!!

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  • Cora 2012/01/27 02:22:30
  • Whodini 2012/01/25 05:02:31
    That many undecided? Did any of those people actually read the news reports?
  • Kevin 2012/01/23 21:35:55
    They should keelhaul him!
  • jools 2012/01/23 14:36:31
    now the true story is out...yes yes yes...the b*st*rd!
  • Americanā˜†Atheist 2012/01/20 12:11:35
  • mamacrash 2012/01/20 05:44:42
    I loved the excuse today, 'when the ship leaned on it's side his leg went out from under him and he fell into the lifeboat', I laughed at the thought that someone might even believe him. I truly believe that they should throw the book at him, hitting him squarely between the eyes, and as quickly as possible. If the 29 people who are still are found alive it would be great but if they are dead the total would be 40 and they should be separate charges for each. The man is not only a coward but a disgusting waste of human flesh. Can we have him walk the plank in a shark infested area with chum thrown in for extra measure?
  • Devlin Drahnoel 2012/01/20 04:08:16
    Devlin Drahnoel
    I couldn't believe when the Captain tried putting the blame on the head waiter. He tried saying he fell off the ship and into a life raft, then refused direct orders from his employers and the Italian Coast Guard to return to the ship and help make sure all the passengers get off safely.
  • ChelseyLefler 2012/01/19 18:00:22
    Yes he abandoned his ship
  • merlinskiss 2012/01/19 16:41:16
    I must admit on the surface, it looks pretty bad for the captain and the company. But will refrain from deciding anything until all the facts are in and the Italians reset from their excited mode into speaking coherently...
  • earl 2012/01/19 16:32:55
    He should be exicuted!!!
  • nightcrawler2005 2012/01/19 16:03:22
    Lets see he took a 600 million dollar ship off course, going dangerously close to an island, hitting rocks and half sinking the ship, killing a minimum of 11 people and endangering the lives of 4000 others, then he abandons the ship leaving everyone to fend for themselves. Oh yes he also disobeyed a direct order to return to the ship. This Moron is toast and I hope they throw every charge they can possibly think of at him.
  • Devlin ... nightcr... 2012/01/20 04:01:27
    Devlin Drahnoel
    The employer should be held criminally responsible? WTF? They programmed the ship on a course to keep it well off shore, if the Captain had not manually over ridden the programming and changed the course closer in land the ship would not have wrecked! The company is financially responsible but not criminally. They did nothing wrong execpt hire an idiotic coward.
  • nightcr... Devlin ... 2012/01/23 20:52:37
    I fully agree with you as I said I hope they throw everything possible at this moron and coward. I would never in a million years say or consider the company responsible for the actions of this ass.
  • Jane 2012/01/19 14:03:49
    Absolutely he should be heal accountable and so should his employer.
  • Sandman366 2012/01/19 13:55:05 (edited)
    Captain who abandons ship before all the other passengers are confirmed off, not coming, or realistically impossible to rescue (they're under the boat or something)...
    ...gets charged.

    Captain who gets a ship off course and crashes it...
    ...gets charged.

    Captain who gets people killed and doesn't make it very obvious he's sorry...
    ...gets charged. (I've heard nothing about an apology.)

    Captain who does stuff with a ship without checking to see if he's allowed to first...
    ...is often fired.

    Captain who manages all of the above...
    ...definitely gets charged. Guaranteed fired.
  • ruthannhausman 2012/01/19 12:19:39
    Thorough investigation first and definitely charges if that investigation supports it. If he's guilty, I have no sympathy for the man; however, I hesitate to throw him under the bus without knowing if he did anything wrong. But I do note that he was the captain of a cruise ship which carried an awful lot of passengers, and to become licensed for that type job is a whole lot harder than getting a driver's license for the family car. So he should have had some pretty high qualifications, performance-wise, to be the captain of that ship. So it will not surprise me if he faces some pretty severe charges. But, again, not to judge the man before the entire story is known.
  • soland 2012/01/19 07:45:56
    he is the captain of a ship and honestly call me old fashioned but seriously though a captain takes the duty to rescue all or as many as he can before he goes down with his ship. seriously yes charge him for all the deaths and for abandoning his ship. hows his ship gonna go down but not the captain.??????
  • Chelsea 2012/01/19 05:08:37
    How does one earn the right to become a cruise ship Captain and what do cruise ship Captain's pledge to do? His actions were cowardly and showed no regard for a single life but his own. He screwed up by going off course, he screwed up by running aground and he screwed up for beating others to safety. Three screw ups in judgement = criminal offenses, innocent lives were lost BECAUSE he KEPT screwing up!!!
  • Lanikai 2012/01/19 04:02:21
    The captain SHOULD always stay with the ship, ALWAYS. This ship was so close to shore, he was in no immediate physical danger and this was just a blatant disregard for public safety. His little statment today that he fell from the ship INTO a lifeboat just cracks me up.

    I strongly suspect that he was getting away to give himself time to sober up. Just a guess.
  • Brainfart " Bane of the Col... 2012/01/19 00:51:35
    Brainfart " Bane of the Collective "
    Obviously this was George Bush's fault. He should have been there to plug the hole with Dick Cheney.
    The captain was unduly influenced by listening to vicious hate filled right wing conservative American talk radio.
    The rest of the officers abandoned ship fearing Sarah Palin had lured them unto the rocks like a Siren song from a Mermaid from her front porch in Alaska
  • Lanikai Brainfa... 2012/01/19 04:02:57
    I can admire that humor.
  • shadow76 Brainfa... 2012/02/28 07:07:58
  • SheLivesOnLoveStreet 2012/01/19 00:48:34
    A captain never leaves his ship dammit!
  • El Prez 2012/01/18 23:35:12
    El Prez
    The more we learn, the more it looks like he should.
  • J Montana 2012/01/18 22:31:40
    J Montana
    See ya!
  • J 2012/01/18 22:10:17 (edited)
    I wish I could, but I can't find fault with the Captain. Maybe 50-60 years ago, I would have. But today, most men are nothing more than women with a set of %@))$. Many women are intimidated by a manly-man so they might remember this the next time they expect a man to be gallant.

    p.s. the shiplines did all they were supposed to do in hiring this man. ALL things we do, we do with risks.
  • ronbo 2012/01/18 20:43:00
    Just going on what I,ve read and heard in reports so far, it sounds like he shirked his responsibilties as Captain of his vessel badly. He was irresponsible by 1) not following the established course he was supposed to which led to the accident to begin with and 2)not taking charge of a safe and orderly evacuation of passengers. He was even yelled at over the radio by an official of the Italian Coast Guard who ordered him to stay on board until the last passengers were off the ship. Instead, he hightailed it off the ship first. If you,re going to sit in the chair in the top deck and make the big bucks,then you need to accept the responsibilty that comes along with it.
  • peggy 2012/01/18 19:45:51
    What happened to the captian going down with the ship?
    Hahaha, he bailed like a wet rat!
  • Pilot337 2012/01/18 19:15:05 (edited)
    The cruise line may have shown questionable judgement in making Francesco Schettino the Captain of the vessel, but I don't believe they are criminally negligent. He had to have the proper licenses and certifications to captain the vessel. I do believe, however, he is personally criminally liable and a disgrace as the person in overall command of the vessel. As Captain, you are ultimately and solely responsible for the safety of everyone on board. There is no way to justify his actions.

    But before anyone starts making general, derogatory comments about Italians:

    We will hear of the kindness of the people of Giglio, who opened their homes and schools and churches in the middle of the night to provide food and clothing and shelter to strangers dropped abruptly on their doorsteps.

    There will also be stories of heroism, including that of the ship's chief purser, Manrico Gianpetroni, who reportedly aided the escape of dozens of people before breaking his leg in a fall. He was found and rescued from deep inside the vessel nearly 36 hours after the ordeal began. There is the man who should have been captain of this vessel.
  • Bushie Pilot337 2012/01/19 04:16:22
    Of course there are Italian heroes and helpers, in there ~

    * the Cabin crews had to step up to the task of helping the passengers, when the ship's officers/executive/staff deserted and fled their responsibilities;

    * the "First Responder" emergency response team on hand were the Italian Coast Guard;

    * as 'Pilot337' points out above here - many local residents were helping out on the scene;

    * the local Fire Brigade over there, is apparently now in charge of the ongoing Rescue/Recovery efforts..

    Nobody can deny this...

    However: at the same time, there are two other groups who disgraced themselves ~

    * the ship's Captain, First Mate and their officers;

    * that sub-group of passengers ~ reportedly mostly men, and chiefly of Italian and Slavic backgrounds/nationalities ~ who panicked, stampeded over women and children, caused pandemonium, wrecked some of the lifeboats. I'm sure their families would be proud of them..
  • JJ 2012/01/18 18:04:20 (edited)
    If that box truly indicates in anyway he is responsable, then yes, he should face criminal charges.
  • Mio 2012/01/18 18:01:17
    idk maby he should but i kinda understand, when a ship is sinking can you blame someone who got in panic and left the ship? i think many people would rather be a living coward than a dead hero, huh? but yeah i understand if you also think he should get some charges... :) idk how id act in a real situation, but id try to do all i can to save others cuz i couldnt live with myself for letting people die...
  • Bushie Mio 2012/01/19 03:29:59
    As an Australian, and a volunteer emergency worker, I despise everyone who panics, loses their heads, and then stampedes over women and children, barging through the crowds around them, and sinking or disabling several of the lifeboats through their blind, mindless and selfish stupidity...

    It has been reported since by witnesses on the scene (i.e. other passengers..) that the majority of those who kept calm during this crisis tended to be American, Aussie and Canadian tourists ~ one of the common factors that these groups share is having inherited that British (Anglo-Gaelic) tendency towards the "stiff upper lip", and getting on with the tasks at hand..
  • Mio Bushie 2012/01/19 15:52:29
    :) ok i didnt know all the things he did.... yeah, ur right
  • Rono 2012/01/18 17:32:33
    The Captain should always stay with the ship as long as possible for the safety of his ship and crew. It's sounds like this captain wasn't to big on honor and tradition.
  • Lanikai Rono 2012/01/19 04:07:04
    Late today, they said a fair number of the senior offices were also off the ship with the captain and one of the transcripts proves it.
  • exhon2009 2012/01/18 17:02:50
    Guilty, but not all is lost. He can marry people in prison can't he?
  • JOJO 2012/01/18 16:16:17
    The locals knew the rock was there. He had used this route before to show off. He didn't want to reboard. He is guilty of manslaughter. When the Oceanos sank in 1991 no one died even though the captain left early. The Concordia was in much shallower water.
  • Dick Nixon 2012/01/18 15:24:43
    Dick Nixon
    weather he took the wrong route or not, he was fighting for his life just like everyone else on that ship... Those who called him coward, what would you do if you were in the same life threatening situation? People make mistakes and his mistake doesnt make him a murderer... WAY TOO HARSH!!!
  • mihai71 Dick Nixon 2012/01/18 17:34:28
    My friend, if I was on the ship I would stay to help. I am a man and my age and my phisycal status would be a plus to try to help. But a captain doesn't fight like everyone else for his life. HE FIGHTS LIKE NOBODY ELSE FOR OTHERS LIVES.That is why a ship needs to have a captain. He was a captain because he accepted the job, not because he was forced to.Try to see what responsible means.

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