Italian Cruise Ship Captain Becomes Internet Meme

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By now you are probably familiar with the story of the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that sank off the coast of the Isola del Giglio in Italy on Friday. The boat struck the rocks near the island after Captain Francesco Schettino steered too close to the shore so to allow the ship’s head waiter to wave to family on the island. Though most of the ship’s passengers escaped, at least six people are dead, and more are still missing.

To make matters worse, Schettino, who has been arrested and will likely face manslaughter charges, told the court in Italy that he escaped the ship after he tripped and fell into a lifeboat, which left the ship before he could get back out.

After coming ashore, Schettino had a conversation by radio with the Italian Coast Guard. When he refused to go back to his ship and assist in rescue efforts, Coast Guard Captain Gregorio De Falco told him, “Perhaps you have saved yourself form the sea, but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Get on board, dick.”

That last phrase - Vada a bordo, cazzo! in Italian - has captured the Italian social media. A Facebook page went live late Tuesday, Italian time, complete with a picture of Captain Schettino, links to places where you can by “Vada a bordo, cazzo!” t-shirts, and an image of the phrase included in the “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme.

Vada a bordo, cazzo!

Also, #vadaabordocazzo has been trending in Italy. Check some examples below:

Haven't we all at one time or another "accidentally" fallen into the safety of a lifeboat? #Vadaabordocazzo! 3 hours ago via Twitterrific · powered by @socialditto

anyone know what odds vegas is offering for Francesco Schettino committing suicide in the next 30 days?? #vadaabordocazzo 3 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Costa Concordia: hashtag #vadaabordocazzo went viral in Italy. What does it mean? Simple: what a difference true leadership can make. #fb 6 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Gregorio De Falco doesn't want to be called a hero, which is exactly what we want from our heroes #VadaABordoCazzo 2 hours ago via Twitter for Android · powered by @socialditto

Sometimes - maybe once in a lifetime - a situation comes along where we have the opportunity to see what sort of person we really are when the chips are down. Are we a hero? A villain? A coward? The crash of his ship was such a moment for Captain Schettino, and now we can all see what he is. A meme.