The Captain Goes Down With The Ship?
Everyone is familiar with the old saying the Captain goes down with ship, but did you know it has some basis in law? The Italian cruse ship that recently ran aground off the coast of Italy provides an apt example of how this old colloquialism still has meaning in modern times.
As you probably know by now the 4,200 passenger ship the Costa Concordia crashed off the coast of Italy last week. The company has sited human error and violations of the company’s safety guidelines as the cause of the accident. So far blame for the entire accident has fallen on the shoulders of the Captain Francesco Schettino who has been accused of diverting from the normal route outlined by the safety protocols to sail closer to the shore, in what has been called the naval equivalent of a ‘buzz by’.
Shortly after the ship ran aground, Captin Schettino claims “he had left the ship accidentally after tripping and falling into a rescue craft.” BBC The Captain is now on house arrest for causing the crashing and abandoning the ship before the rescue was complete.
Although the Captain does not have a duty to “go down with the ship”, he is legally obligated to aide, assist and organize a rescue operation that is as through and complete as possible. He is also obligated to attempt to account for every passenger. NPR