Postcard from... Rome


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No matter where, or on whom, investigators finally pin the blame for the Norman Atlantic ferry tragedy, we know that at least one person did the decent thing – the skipper.

The professionalism and bravery of Captain Argilio Giacomazzi, 62, who made sure every last passenger was taken off the watery inferno before he departed the vessel himself, was not missed on his countrymen.

The last time an Italian skipper left a shipping disaster, it involved one Captain Francesco Schettino, who fled, or according to his version of events, tripped and fell into a life boat, barely half an hour after ordering an evacuation. Hundreds of desperate passengers remained aboard the capsizing Costa Concordia cruise liner.

Mr Schettino is currently on trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship in a disaster that claimed 32 lives. His earlier-than-expected arrival on dry land prompted a celebrated exchange with the coast-guard captain Gregorio De Falco, who told Mr Schettino to “get back on board, for f***’s sake.”

In stark contrast, more than 36 hours after he first sent out a distress signal, Captain Giacomazzi handed his vessel over to Italian navy officers after making a final check that no one else was left aboard.