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  • Captain uncourageous: abandoning ship long seen as a crime

    NPR - 04/18/2014

    Cowardice comes in many forms, but there’s a special sense of shame reserved for captains who abandon ship.

    South Korean authorities Capt. Lee Jun-Seok, who was one of the first to flee from the ferry as it sank on Wednesday.

    “I can’t lift my face before the passengers and family members of those missing,” Lee told reporters.

    The incident came two years after Francesco Schettino, , was charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship — charges he denies. The ship ran aground off the Italian coast in 2012, killing 32 people.

    Has the old idea that captains should not abandon ship itself been abandoned?

    “I’m kind of flummoxed that a master of a passenger ship anywhere in the world would not understand his obligation extends until that last person is safely off the ship,” says Craig Allen, director of the Arctic Law & Policy Institute at the University of Washington.

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