President of RINA, the Italian classification society that certified the Costa Concordia for seaworthiness and safety, Gianni Scerni resigned Tuesday amid controversy over comments he allegedly made to the Italian media. Mr. Scerni disputes the accuracy of the comments but he has decided to resign in order to distance RINA from any association with the alleged remarks.
The comments in question were made in an article posted to Il Secolo XIX, an Italian paper, titled “Scerni: Ma l’armatore non poteva non sapere”, or “But the owner could not know”, translated.
In the article Scerni attacks the owners of the Costa Concordia, who have publicly placed blame solely on Captain Francesco Schettino, for failing to know about the practice of “bow’ing”, or “showboating”, that we have seen in video and AIS plotting from previous voyages of the cruise ship.
Scerni tells the paper (translated from Italian to English): “It is madness such a thing could happen with calm seas and the starry skies. Going so close to the coast is a sailor bravado, but it can not be done by those who lead a ship of that size.”
Scerni is then quoted as saying that the “prank” by Capt. Schettino was an error “that I could do myself sailing a boat.”
Again, Scerni disputes the accuracy of the comments and RINA has publicly stated that it “acknowledges the important contribution which Mr Scerni has made to the company during the past ten years.” Regardless, his resignation is likely to be the first of many from high-level people connected to the incident.