The CEO of the cruise line whose Concordia ship ran aground off the Italian coast, killing at least 6 people, spoke publicly for the first time today and blamed the ship's captain. Costa chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said, "It is human error here. The captain did not follow the authorized route that is used by Costa ships very frequently."
Foschi, who broke down in tears during the interview, further suggested that Captain Francisco Schettino, who is being held by Italian authorities on possible charges of manslaughter and abandonment of ship, took a route close to the Island of Giglio to show off to a friend: "He decided to change the course of the ship to go closer to the island and pass in front of the little city that sits on that island. This is what he wanted to do." And Lloyd's of London tracked the ship's route and found that the course did seriously deviate from the usual course.
The 950-foot boat hit a reef on Friday night, and a panicked evacuation ensued with passengers scrambling for lifeboats and life jackets as the ship started to list. Emergency crews have been going to the boat, now partially submerged and on its side in the Mediterranean, each day to look for survivors and bodies—there are now six confirmed fatalities with 16 still missing, two of them American. The ship was carrying 4,200 passengers and crew members. A Connecticut woman on the ship told NBC New York, "You could definitely hear the boat hit something it was like the boat leaned over at a 70 degree angle. Everything was pretty much falling, dishes were falling, trash cans were falling, everything was falling... We were running around and we kept asking the crew members, 'What floor are the life boats on?' and they just kept saying, 'You don't need them, you're fine, everything's fine, we just hit a big wave.'"
Many survivors have described the harrowing, uncoordinated evacuation—the ship, which had been at sea for a week, never had its evacuation drill—but Foschi stood by the crew, "The crew performed very well. We were able to evacuate in two hours time 4,200 people under very severe circumstances." Carnival controls Costa Cruises.