Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why must the Captain go down with the ship?

Poor Francesco Schettino. He tripped and fell into a lifeboat and now he's globally vilified and most likely headed to jail.

Do you question why it's the "law of the sea" that the Captain must be the last person off the ship in an evacuation situation?

This guy says the practice evolved as a way for Brits to show their superiority over "Latin people".

Chivalry at sea became an essential British ideal, and proof of the superiority of Anglo-Saxons (a category that included North Americans and most northern Europeans) over more panicky peoples from the south and east.

In truth, there is a strong economic reason for such a norm. It should encourage both (a) better accident avoidance and (b) a well thought out and well practiced evacuation plan.

After all, if I'm gonna be the last guy off, I have a big incentive to make sure that everyone gets off quickly and efficiently.

Phone call for Peter Leeson!


Tom said...

In addition to the points made, add the need to organize the ship's emergency procedures. By all accounts, this was poorly done on the Concordia, perhaps because the guy-in-charge had abandoned his post.

Captain Schettino's actions were especially craven, given that there was no real chance for the ship to actually sink.

Anonymous said...

A can't miss minute-by-minute tracking of the incident:

Anonymous said...

Under modern maritime law, the captain is obligated to organize an evacuation of passengers. In addition, under traditional maritime law, once the captain leaves the ship, it becomes open to salvage by anyone. Thus, there is a strong incentive to keep the captain on the ship as long as possible to retain ownership of the ship and its cargo.