On Point Radio (American National Public Radio) and Shipwrecks

Date Posted: 20/01/2012

I will be talking about shipwrecks on On Point Radio today from 4-5pm, broadcast from Boston. http://onpoint.wbur.org/

We will be talking about captains, and their responsibilities…those who chose to stay and those who chose to run. And how can we interpret the wreck of the Costa Concordia in light of similar wrecks with complex backgrounds, such as the wreck of the Medusa in 1816, which sank and was abandoned by her captain when France herself was adrift, economically crippled and leaderless in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars? How can we interpret the behaviour of the captain and the crew in light of pre-existing wreck narratives – particularly British ones – which bemoaned the behaviour of foreigners in wrecks? If you read most nineteenth century wreck narratives you would believe that the British were ALWAYS reliable in a wreck, that the French, Italians, Spanish, Lascars and Blacks were worse than useless.

The truth, of course, is nowhere near so stark.