Italian Cruise Ship Disaster
It is ironic that on the centennial anniversary of the Titanic’s first and final voyage, another luxury cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, carrying 4229 passengers, would meet a similar fate. The Costa Concordia left its dock a mere two hours prior to the ship’s crash into a reef late in the evening on Friday, January 13, 2012. Its captain, Francesco Schettino, performed an unauthorized course change that caused the ship to veer into a rock shelf off the Italian coast of Giglio Porto. After the accident, the captain attempted to turn the ship around and sail back inland, however, the gash created by the rocks was too great to prevent the water from filling the ship and causing it to tip.
The crash of the Costa Concordia itself, however, did not take one human life. Instead, a series of human errors during the response and rescue of the ship has now lead to over thirty people dead or missing. The abandon ship signal was not given until over an hour after the Costa Concordia first began to fill with water. By that time the ship was leaning to one side drastically and it was too difficult to enable all of its lifeboats. It is regulation for a captain to stay aboard a sinking ship until every passenger is safely off, but Francesco Schettino left the Costa Concordia while more than two hundred people were still on board. He claimed “I was helping some passengers put the life boat to sea. At a certain point the mechanism for lowering it, blocked. We had to force it. Suddenly the system unblocked itself and I tripped and I found myself inside the lifeboat with a number of passengers.” Schettino told officials that it was impossible to regress onto the ship. The fifty-two year-old also admitted to an earlier lie that he helped to anchor the ship immediately after she hit the rock. Schettino currently awaits trial on house arrest for manslaughter.
The Italian officials are unsure how long it will take to find the remaining bodies. In addition, the Italian authorities cannot determine how much time it will take to remove the ship from the Giglio Coast. Salvage crews are trying to pump out the remaining 2,400 tons of fuel and prevent the tanks from leaking into the sea. According to Adm. Ilarione Dell’Anna, “Fuel will be replaced with water as it is removed from the ship’s tanks to keep the ship balanced.” Hopefully these precautions taken will be enough to prevent an ecological disaster from occurring and adding to the Costa Concordia’s legacy as one of the great tragedies at sea. [Sources: cnn.com, bbc.co.uk, inquisitr.com]