In the Concordia case, the laws of Italy also apply. Schettino may face charges including manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning a ship when passengers were still on board, chief prosecutor Francesco Verusio said. Abandoning ship is a maritime crime that has been on the books for centuries in Spain, Greece and Italy, according to Alessandra Batassa, a lawyer in Rome, although many other countries have long abandoned it.http://articles.cnn.com/2012-01-17/travel/...ps?_s=PM:TRAVEL
Cowardice at sea is no crime -- at least in the U.S.
In the United States, the rule that a captain should be the last to leave a distressed ship is not a criminal offense. The Westlaw online legal research service shows the phrase "abandon ship" turned up 618 decisions but none addressed a captain's decision to leave a ship before his passengers.
The closest U.S. law that appears to take on the act of leaving a ship before passengers and crew is...http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/20/...E80J1R020120120