Monday, January 23, 2012

Costa Concordia: Authorities Search for Schettino's laptop computer

Italian authorities are searching for the personal computer of the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, amid reports that it was taken away by a mystery blonde woman in the hours after the disaster.

Costa Concordia: authorities search for cruise ship captain's laptop

As uncertainty over the exact circumstances of the debacle grew, divers used explosives to blow more holes in the hull of the ship and continued their search for the estimated 19 people who are still missing from the accident. The death toll stands at 13.

Officials are trying to determine whether they can continue the search operation whilst at the same time authorising a Dutch salvage firm to start pumping out the ship's half a million gallons of heavy oil and diesel.
The giant cruise liner ran aground on Jan 13 after crashing into rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio after the captain apparently misjudged a manoeuvre to 'salute' the island by sailing close to shore.
Capt Francesco Schettino reportedly retrieved the laptop from his cabin and brought it ashore with him, after escaping from the crippled luxury liner in a lifeboat in the early hours of Saturday, Jan 14.
Once on dry land, he took a taxi to the Hotel Bahamas, the only hotel that was open on Giglio.
The owners of the hotel said the captain was holding a red plastic bag containing a rectangular white object which resembled a laptop case.

The fact that he is alleged to have brought some of his personal possessions ashore has raised more questions, because in testimony to investigators last week he claimed to have "tripped" and fallen into the life boat, amid scenes of chaos and panic.

He was being interviewed by an Italian television network when a smartly-dressed middle-aged blonde woman employed by Costa Cruises swept into the lobby, ordered him not to do any more interviews, and whisked him away.

When he was interviewed by police in the nearby town of Orbetello several hours later, he did not have a computer with him.

"The captain wanted to go off and change into some dry socks," Paolo Fanciulli, 45, the owner of the Hotel Bahamas, told The Daily Telegraph.

"He asked me if I could keep an eye on his bag. It was about 11.30am on Saturday. Italian journalists were trying to interview him. Suddenly a blonde woman, who I guessed was a lawyer from what she said, came into the lobby and said: "No interviews".

"She understood the situation immediately. She took him by the arm and led him away. It all happened in about four or five seconds." A short time later Capt Schettino was arrested on the island and taken to a police station in Orbetello on the mainland for questioning.

Police records show that by that time he had only his mobile phone in his possession.

Carabinieri police from Grosseto, where the lead prosecutor in the case is based, visited Giglio last week to try to ascertain more details on the apparently missing computer.

"The captain looked like he hadn't slept all night," said Mr Fanciulli. "He looked tired, exhausted. He had no trace of arrogance. And he certainly didn't seem as if he had been drinking. He was in shock from what had happened." Capt Schettino's lawyer did not respond to telephone calls but Costa Cruises denied that its employee had obtained the laptop.

"Having spoken to the person, we deny categorically having received anything from Capt Schettino," the company said in a statement. It did not offer any explanation of where any computer might be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Costa Cruise Captain Crash - I predicted it Long ago!

Dear TrumpetTravels Blog,

I have been largely silent about this cruise ship captain, but this is truly disgraceful.  Below you will find the repost of an article from the telegraph and please check what I said about Italian Officer in the past by clicking on this link.  They had this one coming for sure!

Costa Concordia: Italians buy t-shirts with 'Get back on board, for ----’s sake!' logo
Italians show anger at the Costa Concordia cruise ship captain, Francesco Schettino, with t-shirts screaming "Get back on board, for ----’s sake!" and the creation of Facebook pages and Twitter hashtags.

By Nick Squires, Giglio and Victoria Ward in Sorrento
11:48AM GMT 18 Jan 2012

It has come to symbolise the entire disaster – the furious command barked down a phone line by a Coast Guard official to the captain of the Costa Concordia to get back on the ship and take command of the mass evacuation.

“Get back on board, for ----’s sake,” screamed the official, Gregorio De Falco – a phrase that has now gone viral among Italians on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

The original Italian – “Vado a bordo, cazzo” – has even been printed on T-shirts, after millions of Italians listened to the audio recordings of the increasingly frantic entreaties given by Mr De Falco to the captain as the ship ran aground on the island of Giglio on Friday night. The apparently negligent and irresponsible behaviour of Capt Francesco Schettino – who is said to have sailed so close to the island in order to give a ‘salute’ to an old friend and as a favour for a member of his crew - has prompted intense soul-searching in Italy.

The top twitter trend in Italy is now #vadaabordocazzo.

While the captain has been labelled a show-off, Mr De Falco, has been hailed as a hero and the voice of reason in the whole debacle, repeatedly asking the commander what on earth he was doing by jumping into a life boat before his 4,200 passengers and crew had been evacuated.

The Italian media said the portrayal of Capt Schettino had tapped into the most familiar stereotypes of their countrymen – he was a dark-haired, sun-tanned “dare devil”, according to one ship’s officer, who drove his 114,000 tonne, 13-storey cruise liner “like a Ferrari” and telephoned his ‘Mamma’ as soon as he realised the trouble he was in.

The protagonists in the drama represented “the two faces of Italy”, the Italian media said.

“His decisive tones recalled black and white war films and comic book heroes,” La Repubblica said of the audio recordings, in which the Coast Guard officer sternly tells the captain to speak up and asks him exactly how many passengers, particularly women and children, are still on board.

“For every Schettino, there is a De Falco, thank goodness,” said one message on Twitter.

Italy was just managing to repair its international image after the “bunga bunga” shenanigans of the Berlusconi era when its reputation was once more dragged through the mud, said an editorial in La Stampa newspaper.

“We’ve had two months to regain our honour in the eyes of the world,” said the paper, in reference to Mr Berlusconi’s resignation in November and his replacement by Mario Monti, a highly respected former European Commissioner, at the head of a straight-talking technocrat government.

“Two months to forget the worst of ourselves: the superficiality, the carelessness, the pomposity, the abdication of responsibility. And then, with a single nudge of the rudder, Capt Schettino has sunk our international reputation, along with his ship.

“We are once again the laughing stock of others. Let’s hope that not everything that they are saying about Schettino is true – even scapegoats need a break. But if only half of it is true, we are looking at a type of Italian that we cannot pretend not to recognise: more full of himself than sure of himself. One who does stupid things for the sake of having fun and seeks to hide them with the mantra ‘Everything’s OK, no problem.’"

The captain’s conduct has been vociferously condemned on social networking sites, with thousands mocking the fact that he was reportedly in a lifeboat before many of his passengers and crew.

On Facebook, more than 22,000 people have joined two groups that feature a doctored photograph of the 52-year-old as a pirate.

Many have expressed shame at the captain's actions, fearing the tragedy will tarnish Italy's name.

Others have set up groups declaring that Capt Schettino was a coward who had gambled with people's lives.

One message on Twitter described the leaked conversation between Capt Schettino and the coast guard official as a battle between a "villain and a hero".

Another tweet mocked him for falling "magically" into a life boat. “Do you want to go home, Schettino? It’s dark and you want to go home?”

The 52-year-old captain denied the allegations through his lawyer.

"The captain defended his role on the direction of the ship after the collision, which in the captain's opinion saved hundreds if not thousands of lives," Bruno Leporatti said. "The captain specified that he did not abandon ship."