Falling Cruiseships

I was shocked when I woke up on Saturday morning to find out that the Costa Concordia had almost capsized outside the port of Giglio. Naturally the first thing that comes to mind is “how many casualties?” At the time of writing the number was 6, but realistically that’s 6 too many.  As at 23 March the death toll had risen to 30, with 2 unaccounted for. But what went wrong?
From the images I have seen, it appears as if the vessel struck a rock (it can be seen on some of the photographs), and then started taking on water till she started to list and ended up resting on the bottom or on a ledge. That is when the chaos on board seemed to have erupted. Reports of shambolic evacuation drills and the captain leaving before passengers have surfaced, and as usual fingers are being pointed in all directions. The parent company, Carnival Cruises has released a generic statement, but then until such time as more facts come out it is the wisest thing to do. It has also been reported that the master has been arrested and the “black boxes” have been removed from the vessel. 
To me a few things look evident:
  • The ship seems to have been much too close inshore
  • Evacuation did not go as smoothly as it should have
  • Questions need to be asked about the stability of these top heavy cookie-cutter ships
  • In this day and age of modern navigation aids, how do you hit something that is probably well charted?
Irrespective of what the final conclusions are, hopefully this will lead to the breaking up on the monopolies in the cruising industry. And while it is true to say that cruising is very safe (I have done 11 cruises myself), had the ship not ended up resting on her side and turned turtle instead, what would the final death toll have been like? She is the largest cruise ship accident in 100 years, but I am sure the waves that it causes will be rippling around for quite some time.
More information on the Costa Concordia
© DRW 2012-2021. Created 16/01/2012. Image by Cezary Piwowarski  31 July 2009.  
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