Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

The mind of a man

Posted on | January 23, 2012 | 3 Comments

As everyone from the popular media to the ship’s operators queue up to condemn the master of the Costa Concordia, how many of his accusers takes a moment to consider for a moment what must have been going through the mind of that man as he felt the rocks bite into the port side of his huge ship?

We have all made mistakes in our lives, but very few people will have done anything so dreadful, with the damage control centre indicating that the ship is filling fast, there is a total power blackout, and there are 4200 people whose lives are now in deadly danger as a consequence of a man’s misjudgement.

Where are the equivalents? A general, whose error has condemned an entire regiment to destruction can at least blame the enemy for his own miscalculation. A doctor whose blundering scalpel has killed his patient has the blood of only that single person on his hands. Even the pilot of the biggest passenger aircraft who has misjudged his approach will, like those aboard, be dead and free from recriminations and condemnation.

Can we consider, just for a moment, what Captain Schettino must have been thinking as he realised the terrible consequences of his errors and the end of his career. And we expect somebody with that terrible burden to spring into action, reassure those aboard and ensure that the evacuation of the ship goes entirely to plan. There are just a few human beings who can perhaps imagine the reality of this ultimate horror. They, without exception, will be in command of gigantic cruise ships. They won’t be robots, either. But more than four thousand people got ashore from that sinking heeling ship that night. Somebody was doing something right.


3 Responses to “The mind of a man”

  1. Frank Pickering (Australia)
    January 26th, 2012 @ 1:17 am

    Well done, Michael. Your very reasoned comments are most appropriate about the Costa Concordia tragedy & the embattled Captain Schettino. With a tragedy of this magnitude the Captain would obviously have been totally consumed by the disaster & his judgment may have been clouded. This is where his second in command & the other senior officers no doubt would have stepped in & guided the Captain accordingly. The agony of command, hero or villian!

  2. Nigel Maude
    January 26th, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    Michael, I find it very difficult accepting your comparisons. To be in command of a 100,000 tonne, 1000 feet long vessel, with 4000 persons on board, to take the vessel unnecessarily close to the shore at night is gross neglect of his duties as master of such or any vessel. To say it was an accident, well if as he has allegedly said this was not the first time, it was an accident waiting to happen, and it did. As a Master Mariner I do not consider I am queueing up to condem him either, his behaviour frightens me.

  3. Lalgudi Saptarishi Ganapathy
    March 8th, 2012 @ 3:36 am

    Well done,Mr Michael.Once the details are known thro MAIB , the stepd necessary be taken. Yes in a Passenger Vessel, Crowd Management is a big issue!!As a Chief engineer for years, have experienced an E/R flooding situation, a situation created by ship’s staff due to ignorance and not even the Captain aware,controlling the ship’s staff of just 22 was a big task.

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