The Legal Duty for the Captain of a Sinking Ship
Legal Duty vs. Ethical or Moral Duty - Due Diligence of Ship Evacuation
Sinking of Cruise Ship Costa Concordia
The recent capsizing of the cruise ship Costa Concordia resulted in many
discussions within the maritime community about the duties of a captain on a
However, there are duties that all ship's officers have in ensuring the safety of
passengers on a sinking ship. The captain and crew are in a position of
knowledge and authority so far as the operation of a vessel and recognizing
dangers posed to helpless passengers.
On January 13, 2012, the 114,000 ton Costa Concordia hit submerged rocks in
the Tyrhennian Sea and capsized. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 32
people. Captain Francesco Schettino was criminally charged by the Italian Courts.
He had made his way onto a lifeboat before all passengers had been evacuated.
While the arcane notion of a captain going down with a ship is the stuff of fairy
tales, all captains have a duty to see to it that passengers are safely evacuated.