Captain of Sunken Cruise Ship Takes Part in Seminar at Italian University

Controversy has erupted over news that the captain of the Costa Concordia—a cruise ship that sank in 2012, killing 32 passengers—participated last month in a seminar organized by a professor at Italy’s largest university, The Guardian reports.

The captain, Francesco Schettino, who has been charged with manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster, and abandoning ship, spoke as part of a seminar in which the 2012 disaster was discussed. The rest of the details are a matter of dispute.

Mr. Schettino has been quoted as saying he was “called in” to “illustrate the management of panic control.” Sapienza University, in Rome, has issued a statement saying that the seminar was held as part of a master’s course in criminology and forensic science, and that the professor who organized it has been ordered to appear before a university ethics committee for possible disciplinary action. The statement also notes that the university’s rector, Luigi Frati, accused the professor of making “pathetic excuses.”

The professor, Vincenzo Mastronardi, has been quoted as saying that he did not invite Mr. Schettino but that the captain volunteered to participate as a way of adding balance to the discussion.

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