Italy Cowardice At Sea

  FILE In this In this Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 file photo Francesco Schettino, right, the captain of the luxury cruiser Costa Concordia, which ran aground off Italy's tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, is taken into custody by Carabinieri in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy. Seamen have expressed almost universal outrage at Capt. Francesco Schettino, accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and of abandoning his crippled cruise ship off Tuscany while passengers were still on board. The charge of abandoning his ship carries a potential sentence of 12 years in prison. Seafaring tradition holds that the captain should be last to leave a sinking ship. But is it realistic to expect skippers _ only human after all _ to suppress their survival instinct amid the horror of a maritime disaster? To ask them to stare down death from the bridge, as the lights go out and the water rises, until everyone else has made it to safety? From mariners on ships plying the world's oceans, the answer is loud and clear: Aye. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili, File)
FILE In this In this Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 file photo Francesco Schettino, right, the captain of the luxury cruiser Costa Concordia, which ran aground off Italy's tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, is taken into custody by Carabinieri in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy. Seamen have expressed almost universal outrage at Capt. Francesco Schettino, accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and of abandoning his crippled cruise ship off Tuscany while passengers were still on board. The charge of abandoning his ship carries a potential sentence of 12 years in prison. Seafaring tradition holds that the captain should be last to leave a sinking ship. But is it realistic to expect skippers _ only human after all _ to suppress their survival instinct amid the horror of a maritime disaster? To ask them to stare down death from the bridge, as the lights go out and the water rises, until everyone else has made it to safety? From mariners on ships plying the world's oceans, the answer is loud and clear: Aye. (AP Photo/Giacomo Aprili, File)

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