The Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship, ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, tearing open the body and making some 4,200 people aboard to evacuate aboard lifeboats to a nearby island, Isola del Giglio, late Friday, January 13, 2012.
Among the 3206 passengers and 1,023 crew members, there are at least 30 people injured with the majority suffering only bruises and at least two in serious condition, 8 people are confirmed dead and authorities are still searching for the missing people who jump off the ship out of panic when the ship started to tilt, and some might be trapped inside.
Rescuers searched the 9,570- foot- long ship’s interior with 2,000 cabins which is also leaning to its right for passengers or crews that might be trapped inside. As of Sunday, the ship is already lying on its right side with half of it submerged.
The evacuees stayed in school, hotels and a church on the Tuscan island of Giglio. Other evacuees were sent via helicopters to Grosseto, and the others who are rescued by local ferries were sent to the port of Porto Santo Stefano.
The Route and the Cause of Accident
The cruise ship left Civitavecchia port near Rome for a Mediterranean cruise in early Friday. The passengers were eating dinner when they heard a loud noise at about 8 PM (local time) like a noise when dragging large metal. The ship lost its power and it started to list on its right.
A voice from the ship’s messaging system told the passenger to calm and that the ship experienced electrical failure. The passenger did not believed it, because if it was just an electrical failure then why is the ship listing already. The passengers panicked. They ran to their cabins to get life jackets. And others jumped off the ship to swim into the shore. Then few minutes passed, they were told to abandon ship.
Regarding to the cause of the accident, the authorities are still investigating about it. The ship captain, Francesco Schettino (52) was arrested already and might be facing manslaughter charges. Besides, the captain left the ship even the rescue is not yet done.
From the recording of the “black box”, it was revealed that the ship captain ignored the order of the port official to supervise the rescue.
However, the owner of the ship revealed that the ship captain may have made “significant” errors that led to the accident. “The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and the captain’s judgment in handling the emergency appears to have not followed standard Costa procedures,” according to the CEO of Costa Cruises. The company revealed that the Costa ships have programmed routes in which if they deviate, the it will sound an alarm.
It was noted that the Costa Concordia did not follow the programmed route of the ship, wherein it sailed near (150 meters) to the island. The ship captain allegedly changed the course of the ship to “show off” his colleague and a family in the shore.
According to a report, the ship captain invited the boss of the ship’s restaurant, Antonello Tievoli, into the bridge and told: “Come and look. We’re passing your Giglio.” (source: Mirror)It was confirmed by the parents of Tievoli saying that their son called them and told them that the Concordia would be passing. Tievoli’s sister, Patrizia, posted a Facebook message few minutes before the accident, saying that the Concordia would pass… really close, which is a big hello from her brother.”
According to Chris McKesson, professor of naval architecture at the University of New Orleans, “they saw it at the last minute, and they tried to swing the ship to the right to miss, … when you swing the nose to the right, the tail swings little to the left.” And that’s what happened, “she swung her tail over and kissed that rock.”
About Costa Concordia
The Costa Concordia which has 2,000 cabins is owned and operated by the Costa Cruises company. The said company is also owned by the Carnival Corporation which is known as the world’s largest cruiseline. It also has 13 decks, 13 bars, 5 restaurants, 4 swimming pools and 500 balconied staterooms. It was built in 2004-2005 at a cost of €450 million at the Fincantieri Sestri shipyard in Italy.
The ship was involved in an accident on November 22, 2008 when it hit a port wall and was damaged while docking.
Filipino Crew Members
According to reports, there are 300 Filipino among the more than 1,000 crews of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. Two of them are injured.
I don’t know if the ship crews described in the report as quoted below are Filipinos. I hope they’re not the ones referred on the report:
The worst part came when a lifeboat crew member told everyone, “Women and children first,” Smith said. “All these families who were clinging to each other had to be separated,” he added.
After helping passengers, some crew members jumped overboard and swam ashore. …
Life rafts were “twisting and turning,” and the crew pulled in some rafts and put the people back on the ship, but the crew never returned for them, Smith said. (source: CNN)