Ship Owner Blames Captain's 'Human Error'

Francesco Schettino seen drinking at onboard bar
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2012 5:06 PM CST
Owner of Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Blames Captain Francesco Schettino's 'Human Error'
In this photo taken on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, Francesco Schettino, the captain of the luxury cruiser Costa Concordia, enters a Carabinieri car in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy.   (AP Photo/Enzo Russo)

The captain of the Costa Concordia is likely guilty in a disaster that has claimed at least five lives, the ship's owner says. "Preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship's master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences," Costa Cruises said in a statement. The 4,200-passenger cruise ship struck shallow rocks off Italy's west coast Friday and rolled over, prompting a massive overnight evacuation, MSNBC reports.

"The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and in handling the emergency the captain appears not to have followed standard Costa procedures," added Costa Cruises. Schettino was seen drinking and socializing at one of the ship's bars when the Costa Concordia ran aground 4 miles off course, the Daily Mail reports. He will likely face charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship, after a French couple saw him fleeing the wreck with a blanket over him. (More cruise ships stories.)

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