Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sunk Ship: This Week’s Closed Hearings Required The Conversion Of This Theater

Posted by Peter Quennell

The international media presence at the hearings in Grosetto matches those at the end of the trial and the appeal in Perugia.

But despite the conversion into a court of the large Theater Moderno shown here, the media is not getting to observe the hearings first-hand. The judges decided that they all have to wait outside.

So many passengers and relatives of victims wanted to attend to look Captain Schettino in the eye that they occupy all of the several thousand seats.

This hearing is similar to the hearing presided over by Judge Micheli in October 2008 to decide whether to remand Knox and Sollecito for trial. We should know in a few days if Captain Schettino and several other officers and company officials will face trial for manslaughter and other crimes.

Perhaps the most shocking fact to emerge from the reports prepared for the hearings is that once the ship was gashed in the side it was almost instantly mechanically incapacitated. If a brisk headwind had not stopped the ship and pushed it around onto an underwater shelf, it might have sunk in minutes, perhaps with several thousand drowned.

The captain has just been fired. He in turn is strenuously trying to shift the blame for the disaster to his fellow crew, many of whom had weak English and no Italian, and also to the cruise company.

The cruise-line business has now recovered but, as with the Titanic, a lot is being learned around the world about ship construction, emergency ship management, and the relevant law.

[Below: Captain Schettino, now fired by his company, arrives from Sorrento for the hearing]

[Below: Giulia Bongiorno reopresents some passenger and seeks a class action suit]

[Below: the ship now shows up on Google Earth. The rocks it hit are at lower left]

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/18/12 at 11:17 AM in The wider contextsItalian context


That headwind has been referred to by prosecutors as “like the hand of god” and and in Italian media conversations is taking on mythic status.

The captain had claimed to have steered the ship to where it sits now but the rudders and propellers were all dead.

Transcripts of his conversation on the bridge and in the calls he made are distinctly bizarre. They’re not the words of a sober or mentally perfect man.

He called his wife to tell her he had written off his ship, but not to worry, a change of career would do them both good.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/18/12 at 03:52 PM | #

Below, some more images from Grosetto, which is about one hour due west of Perugia.

First, the presiding investigating magistrate (gip) Valeria Montesarchio, and the chief prosecutor Francesco Verusio.

Thereafter, Captain Schettino leaving his hotel in a seaside town a few miles north, plus more of the police presence and media presence.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/18/12 at 09:34 PM | # 😊

Posted by aethelred23 on 10/20/12 at 02:56 AM | #

Hi aethelred. Yes this moving gesture will be the subject of our post on sunday.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/20/12 at 05:44 AM | #
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