Who are the most infamous cruise ship captains in recent history?

We know at ParknCruise you might be thinking that Captain Edward J. Smith should be on this list, but he did at least go down with his vessel earning a certain kind of respect that these other captains could never have.

3) Bengt Wiman - MV Explorer

The MV Explorer sank in chilly the Antarctic after hitting (you’ve guessed it) a rather large lump of frozen water in November 2007. After departing from the Falkland Islands as part of a 19 day cruise the doomed ship floundered in the Bransfield Straits just off the coast of King George Island. After the initial impact the MV Explorer is thought to have then drifted into and been damaged by another ice berg while its crew were investigating the first impact! A report into the sinking blamed the Swedish Captain, Bengt Wiman. It is thought that although Wiman had experience of cruising and shipping in the cold Baltic, he was unfamiliar with the type of ice typical in the Antarctic Sea.

Given that the Explorer was a ship designed for icebreaking, a number of questions remain unanswered even to this day.

2) Yiannis Avranas - MTS Oceanos

Captain Avranas, manages to get into position 2 despite having been a captain for 20 years, with over 30 years’ experience at sea. In 1991 after leaving East London, South Africa, in very heavy seas passengers reported hearing a loud bang or explosion at about 21.30 hours. The ship, powerless and adrift, began taking on water through the engine room. Captain Avranas and his cowardly crew abandoned ship without closing open portholes or making any type of announcement to passengers! The evacuation of the ship was organised by the 2 entertainers who worked on the cruise ship. 

Avranas has said of the incident:  "When I order abandon the ship, it doesn't matter what time I leave. Abandon is for everybody. If some people like to stay, they can stay."

1) Francesco Schettino  - Costa Concordia

When the champagne bottle failed to break against the hull of the Costa Concordia on Eva Herzigova’s first attempt, superstitious seamen would have suspected a bad omen. Just 6 years later the cruise ship was laying on its side and 32 passengers and crew had lost their lives and Schettino had become the most infamous cruise ship captain of recent times.

On 13th January 2012, Captain Francesco Schettino attempted a sail-by-salute (allegedly to impress a woman) off the coast of Isola del Giglio when the ship struck rocks. With a 50m hole in its side and powerless the Costa Concordia drifted onto rocks and listed heavily on her starboard side, at danger from slipping further into a 68-metre (224 ft.) trench.

Schettino failed to stay with his passengers and sinking ship and left after claiming he had ‘slipped into a life raft.’ When ordered back onto his ship that still had over 100 passengers on board, Schettino refused. 

For this action Schettino makes it into position number 1.