The Costa Concordia tragedy: A Modern-Day Titanic?

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On Friday evening, January 13, 2012, Italy’s largest cruise ship ran aground near the small island of Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany. The ship was 450 feet from shore when it smashed into the rocks; investigators are saying it was “incredibly close.” The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,234 passengers and crew members when it hit the rocks. It’s unclear as to why the ship was so close to shore. Some say that the captain, Francesco Schettino, made an unauthorized and unapproved change in the ship’s programmed course. Others say that he often brought the ship close to shorelines to allow passengers to take photographs, and still others say that he brought the ship so close to the shore to wave to a friend.

“While the investigation is ongoing, preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences,” Costa Cruises said in a statement. “The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and in handling the emergency the captain appears not to have followed standard Costa procedures.”

On the night of the tragedy, the Costa Concordia hit a rock that ripped a 160 foot hole in the hull, causing several water-tight compartments to fill with water, much like with the Titanic. There have been reports that the crew took almost an hour before they finally told the passengers what was really happening. What they had originally told passengers was that there were electrical problems that would soon be fixed. Within the hour, the ship began to noticeably tilt to one side. That was when Captain Schettino finally notified authorities about the emergency. There are eleven people confirmed dead, 21 still missing and three bodies have been found but not identified.

It took almost five hours to abandon the Costa Concordia. Some of the crew were panicked and didn’t speak languages that the passengers could understand. Normally, crews have the first 24 hours to go over proper abandon ship routines with passengers on a cruise ship. The Costa Concordia was only a few hours into its voyage and the “practice run” of abandon ship was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, close to the end of the  first 24 hours into the voyage. Passengers weren’t able to load all the life boats because the ship was sinking so quickly. Inevitably, passengers tried to get off however they could. Also, many passengers, when they got to safety, reported seeing Captain Francesco Schettino standing safely on the shore. What happened to “The Captain always goes down with his ship”?

During his three-hour hearing on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, on allegations of manslaughter and abandoning the ship, Francesco Schettino said that he ended up in a life boat because he tripped and fell into a life boat,due to the severe angle of the ship, while assisting a passenger. He also said “I was navigating by sight because I knew the depths well and I had done this maneuver three or four times,” but he gave the order to turn too late and ended up running aground. It sounds like “Captain” Francesco Schettino is in some deep water now.

The reason the Costa Concordia has brought the Titanic disaster to the minds of many is because of the similarities; like the Titanic, the crew was not truthful on the Costa Concordia. On the Titanic the passengers were told that everything was fine and on the Costa Concordia the passengers were told that everything was fine, it was only an electrical problem and would soon be fixed. The Titanic went down in 1912 and the Costa Concordia went down in 2012, a freaky coincidence. Both ships are very extravagant, luxury ships built for the wealthy and poor alike. The Titanic was the biggest ship built in England – at the time, the Costa Concordia was the biggest ship to be built in Italy so far. One ran into an iceberg, the other into a rock or reef. Both topped out at 23 knots and both had problems with their christenings. The Titanic was never christened and the bottle didn’t break during the Costa Concordia’s christening. And yet, there are many differences; the Concordia was much heavier and had almost twice as many passengers on board. And rules and laws have been made after the Titanic went down. But still, the Costa Concordia has brought the Titanic to the minds of many, especially since it’s the 100th year anniversary of the Titanic.


Posted on January 19, 2012, in News, Top Stories and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Very intreresting post. It was very relavant. I was searching exaxtly for this. Thank you for your effort. I hope you will write more such useful posts.

  2. This is very interesting! Great information and it is also very well written. I will bookmark and comeback soon.

  3. Definitly an interesting read and a different way to look at things.

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