Francesco Shetino, the captain of the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia, quickly became Italy’s “most hated man”, with hundreds turning to Facebook to vent their anger at him.
Now, almost 1,000 people have “liked” the Facebook group “Francesco Schettino” comandante “Costa Crociere” to scold him – as many say he “played with people’s lives”.
It also became clear on Facebook that the boss of the ship’s restaurant’s sister posted a comment before the disaster, saying: “In a short time, the ship” Concordia “will pass very close. Greetings to my brother, who finally has a rest on landing in Savona. “
Patricia Tivoli, sister of restaurant chef Antonello, posted the announcement at 9:08 p.m. Friday. A few minutes later, the boat flooded.
The revelations follow allegations that Francesco Shetino drank “with a beautiful woman” in the ship’s bar before sailing in an accident.
Francesco Shetino, 52, was arrested on suspicion of repeated manslaughter and abandonment of a ship when a cruise ship ran aground after jamming a 160-foot breach in the port hull.
Six people have now been confirmed dead and 16 are still missing. The sixth man, a male passenger, was found dead wearing a life jacket on the ship’s second deck. This area of the boat was not submerged.
One passenger accused Captain Francesco Sketino of drinking in one of the ship’s bars the night the ship ran aground before taking control after the crash.
Monique Mourek, 41, from the Netherlands, said: “What scared me the most was when I saw the captain spend most of the evening before we hit the stones to drink at the bar with a beautiful woman on hand.
“Most people didn’t even know what the evacuation warning sound would be like. Just because some of us were already on a cruise, we realized that seven horn sounds were a signal to leave the ship. “
Phil Metcalfe, whose daughter Rose was one of the last people outside the ship, said she had revealed that the captain had abandoned the ship in the early stages of the evacuation, leaving his staff on board.
He said: “Since the captain had left, there was no one, so everyone was left to their own devices, hence the chaos, so apparently the crew took it and decided in the absence of the captain to organize and try and help people.”
Italian investigators are working on the theory that the $ 600 million ship sailed near the island of Giglio to greet an officer from the Italian merchant navy who was friendly to those in Concordia.
Reports in Italy say investigators have identified the man ashore and he will be questioned as part of an investigation into the incident.
Last August, the Costa Concordia passed near the island, issuing a whistle – urging the mayor to send a congratulatory email to the captain to provide such a “tourist show” and “fantastic entertainment.”
Prosecutors described Francesco Sketino’s work with the giant vessel as “incompetent” and he was forced to deny further harmful allegations that he left the ship to escape, was spotted at the bar and even broke into the safe before leaving.
Francesco Shetino told marine investigators that the charts show he was in water deep enough to navigate and hit an unidentified rocky outlet on the island.
As soon as the captain realized the extent of the damage, he immediately tried to change the route and turned to the safety of the port of Giglio.
Yesterday, the chief executive of the Italian owner blamed “human error” on the part of Captain Francesco Sketino for grounding the ship.
Costa Crociere chairman and CEO Pierre Luigi Foschi told reporters that in his assessment for 2011, the liner had passed all safety and technical tests.
Asked about the suspicion that the captain had abandoned the ship, Senior Prosecutor Francesco Verusio said: “Unfortunately, I have to confirm this.”
As an early crew and a pair of Korean honeymooners were rescued yesterday, 48 hours after the ship fell into grief, it also turned out that:
■ Survivors were left to swim for their lives and look down the rope ladders during a terrifying escape like the Titanic. They told how the women and children were driven out of the way by the crews heading for the lifeboats.
■ Fears of an environmental disaster have risen amid allegations at the scene that fuel has begun to leak from the line.
■ Rescue divers continue to search for sunken parts of the ship before bad weather completely sinks it. The death toll rose to six when a man wearing a life jacket was found on the ship’s second deck.
The disaster shocked everyone who enjoys the multibillion-dollar cruise industry and believes they are in absolute safety.
The cruise ship Costa Concordia was sailing just over 300 meters from the rocky shore of the Giglio when it had to be at least ten times that distance.
Captain Francesco Sketino insisted that his maps and navigation system showed he was in “safe water” and that the rocks he hit were unmarked – a statement that astonished Giglio locals, who said the dangers were well known .
First Officer Ciro Ambrosio was also arrested and detained along with Francesco Shetino in Porto Santo Stefano on the Italian continent before being transferred to prison.
The Tuscan prosecutor said the ship hit a reef on its port side, as a result of which it took “a huge amount of water in a matter of minutes.” A huge piece of rock remained embedded in the hull.
Italian police are conducting two investigations – one on the route taken by the captain, and another on the evacuation of the ship. The 117,000-ton Costa Concordia crashed into rocks for two hours on a seven-day Mediterranean cruise while passengers enjoyed dinner at 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Francesco Shetino, who has worked with Costa Concordia for 11 years, called his mother Rosa in Naples at 5:00 a.m. and said: “There is a tragedy, but keep calm. I tried to save the passengers. I won’t be able to call you for a while, but don’t worry. “
Francesco Cetino’s sister Julia said: “We are calm. Franco is a good captain and he told the truth. “
There were also reports that Francesco Sketino was having dinner with passengers when the accident happened – but the ship’s operating company, Costa Crocier, said it was on the bridge. It was still unclear last night what caused the shipwreck to capsize. He struck a rocky opening known as Le Scole, which opened the port hull.
Fifteen minutes after the strike, Francesco Shetino gave the order to drop anchor in an attempt to turn the ship around and return as close as possible to the port of Giglio, which had by then crossed the Costa Concordia.
While performing the emergency maneuver, he accelerated the water intake and caused the ship to turn sideways and finally stop on a rocky shelf. There is also a theory that an electrical failure has erased the ship’s navigation power and steering wheel control.
The survivors vent their anger on the captain yesterday on a bulletin board at their hotel in Rome. It was created for therapeutic reasons to allow them to show their feelings and give thanks for their salvation.
Francesco Shetino will be detained until next week, when a judge will decide whether he should be released or formally arrested. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 12 years in prison.