Costa Concordia

Did anyone notice it was Friday the 13th when the Costa Concordia’s ‘number was up’ and she careened into rocks near Isla Giglio off the western coast of Italy? The unlucky omen might be as good an explanation of this accident occurring as any. It does seem virtually impossible that the captain and crew would not have seen the rocks, that the modern equipment didn’t pick up their presence of these formations nor did the charts, according to Captain Schettino, 52, indicate their correct position.
This 4,000+ passenger ship, which was one of the best in the Costa fleet, began to list to one side and sink as soon as her hull was punctured. It has been horrific hearing the testimonies of how passengers escaped, many jumping into the sea and swimming to shore and it is nothing short of a miracle that, at the time of writing, there were only 5 people killed.
The fact that it is only two months until the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is also very unlucky. Many people who are only remotely interested in taking a cruise are drawn to the story of the Titanic’s demise, the drama and horror making the tale irresistible
Gianni Onorato, president of Costa Cruises, has said the cruise line will co-operate fully with the Italian authorities to understand the causes of the catastrophe. Of course, passengers are already asking about compensation and one wonders if it will be the cruise line taking responsibility or travel insurance companies? A mine field is on the horizon.
I must admit that the first time I was on a very large cruise ship, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Oasis of the Seas, I was utterly amazed that the muster drill consisted of gathering in the bottom most reaches of the ship and simply having my room card scanned. That was it. No life jacket demonstration, no indication of where the life boats were located or how you would access these boats in an emergency when there might not be any lights and the elevators would not be safe to use. We were simply told to watch the safety video. Many of the Costa Concordia’s passengers reported having no safety drill at all due to when they had embarked. Most seem to have no clue as to how to handle this unforeseen situation and it is amazing that more people were not hurt.
I certainly would hope that, at the minimum, there will be a look at safety measures and rethinking how to best communicate these procedures to passengers.