[WW] The Costa Concordia Disaster

The MS Costa Concordia was a ship on a bigger and grander scale than that of the Titanic. Under the subsidiary company of Carnival Corporation, the MS Costa Concordia was the first of the Concordia-class ships and was amongst the largest ships to be made in Italy. It stretched the length of 5 NHL hockey rinks put together.

During the ceremony celebrating the launch of the ship, the champagne bottle failed to break during the "christening", which to many is an omen for bad luck. Many have contributed this to one of the reasons why the ship was met with disaster.

Image courtesy of Friendly Planet.

At around 9:42pm of January 13, 2012 (Friday the 13th), the vessel struck a rock off the coast of Isola del Giglio in Tuscany. The ship was going full speed on a course half a nautical mile off the coast (the usual distance is 5-6 nautical miles) of Giglio in order to do a traditional salute the coast-guards in the harbour. The rock tore a huge gash across the ship's hull. There were 4,252 passengers on board, with 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew and personnel members. After a delayed instruction to abandon ship and the ship beginning to tilt and sink into the water, the life-boats started loading panicked passengers. The total count for the disaster was 32 people dead, 2 missing and presumed dead, and 64 injured.

Here is a must-see coverage story on the partial sinking of the Costa Concordia: Costa Concordia: The Captain's Tale.

Under media scrutiny and the poor timing of the disaster during Italy's political situation at the time, evidence accumulated pointed to the ship's captain. I will not go into detail as this entry is already very long, but I encourage those interested to watch the video I linked above and to read articles covering the incident. The ship's captain maintains that this was an accident and that everyone is treating it like a crime.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino (captain no longer) and several officers and managers of Costa Cruises are now facing criminal prosecution. The charges laid against them are manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and failing to communicate with maritime authorities. The charges faced by the ship's captain include having lost control of the ship, did nothing to contact the nearby harbour for help but tried to resume the original course, before a U-turn back to Giglio.

According to the BBC, the wreck will be removed by September 2013 and analyzed to understand what went wrong and hope to learn more about the disaster.

Having been on a handful of cruises in the past, I can only tell you how terrifying this all seems to me merely researching this disaster, having spent paranoid nights up in the cabins wondering if something bad would happen.

Who do you think is responsible for this tragedy?

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