Professor faces censure for inviting Concordia captain to give lecture on emergency procedures

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 9:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 9:28pm


A Rome university professor is facing a disciplinary hearing after inviting the captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner to lecture students on emergency procedures.

The dean of Rome's Sapienza University, Luigi Frati, criticised the professor's decision to invite Captain Francesco Schettino to give a seminar, calling it an "inappropriate and unworthy choice".

Frati said that he was turning the matter over to an ethics committee.

The university dismissed the "pathetic excuses" offered by the professor, Vincenzo Mastronardi, when confronted by the dean.

Schettino is being tried for manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship over the January 2012 capsizing of the Concordia, in which 32 people died.

Italy's education minister called the news "disconcerting", while the prosecutor in Tuscany who is arguing for Schettino's guilt expressed indignation at reports that Schettino had been awarded a diploma.

The Florence daily La Nazione reported that Schettino gave a nearly two-hour lecture to criminal science masters candidates last month, including reference to panic management.

Schettino defended the seminar, saying it was "a technical intervention on the basis of my knowledge and professionalism acquired over many years".

His lawyer, Cataldo Calabretta, criticised "an unacceptable attempt to discredit Schettino, who has been subjected … to unmerited media attacks".

The Concordia was towed from its Tuscan graveyard last month to Genoa's port where it will be turned into scrap. During a search on Wednesday, authorities found some bone fragments that could belong to the one person still unaccounted for: Indian waiter Russel Rebello.