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Anorak | Every reason why the Costa Concordia failed: stars, Francesco Schettino, a curse and more

Every reason why the Costa Concordia failed: stars, Francesco Schettino, a curse and more

by | 17th, January 2012

THE Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Tuscany. Why did at least six people die (29 are missing)? The media wonders:

The Sail By

The captain of the vessel faces multiple manslaughter charges for what his own employers called an “inexplicable” decision to sail the 950ft ship close by the island of Giglio to salute former seamen…

Prosecutors believe the captain may have deliberately ordered the 1,500-cabin liner to sail close to the island of Giglio to sound a three-horn salute in what locals call an “inchino,” or reverent bow, to the inhabitants. Its decks illuminated, the Costa Concordia has previously sailed close to the picturesque island and sounded its foghorn in tribute.

The “showboating” was meant to be a treat for the passengers on the first night of their cruise, and a treat for the islanders too. – The Times

The Message

Patrizia Tievoli, sister to Antonellio,who ran the ship’s eateries, posted a message on Facebook minutes before the accident:

“In a short period of time the Concordia ship will pass very close. A big greeting to my brother who finally get to have a holiday on landing in Savona.”

The Suprising Rocks

Captain Francesco Schettino said the rocks were not marked on maps and were not detected by navigation systems. – BBC

Captain Schettino has insisted he was twice as far out around 300 yards as some claim and that the ship ran aground because the rocks below were not marked on his nautical charts. He did concede he had been maneuvering the ship in “touristic navigation”, implying it was designed to entertain the passengers.

He told Italian TV: “We were navigating approximately 300 meters (yards) from the rocks. There shouldn’t have been such a rock. On the nautical chart it indicated that there was water deep below.”
The captain added: “I don’t know if it was detected or not, but on the nautical chart it was marked just as water and some 100-150 metres (328ft-492ft) from the rocks, and we were about 300 metres (984ft) from the shore, more or less. We shouldn’t have had this contact.” Sky

The Drink

Monique Maurek, 41, from the Netherlands, was there:

”What scandalised me most was when I saw the captain spending much of the evening before we hit the rocks drinking in the bar with a beautiful woman on his arm. Most people didn’t even have any idea of what the evacuation warning sound would be. It was only because some of us had already been on a cruise that we recognised that seven blasts of the horn was a signal to abandon ship.” – Telegraph

Power Failure

Passengers have told how they were initially reassured the issue was just an electrical fault or a problem with the generator before the situation descended into chaos.
A major electrical fault would have affected the ship’s navigation equipment or a computer failure could have caused its systems to malfunction. Experts have also speculated that there could have been a power failure. Cruise ships rely on their electric generators for steering, power and other facilities. The Costa Concordia is powered by six diesel engines and a power surge could have interfered with the generators, prompting the back-up to fail as well.

The Queen Mary 2 was affected in this way in 2010 as it approached Barcelona but it was able to divert into open sea and restart its engines. Malcolm Latarche, editor of global shipping magazine IHS Fairplay Solutions, said passenger reports of a power blackout and large “boom” sound supported this theory. – Sky

The Crew

Pier Luigi Foschi, the chief executive of Costa Cruises, which owns the boat, paid tribute to the crew of the liner, saying that they had “all behaved like heroes. They managed to evacuate more than 4,000 people in two hours,” Mr Foschi told journalists in Genoa, struggling to fight back tears. – Vancouver Sun

The Crew II

Phil Metcalf, whose daughter Rose was one of the last people off the ship, says:

“Since the captain had left there was nobody, so everybody was left to their own devices hence some of the chaos, so obviously the crew took it upon themselves and decided in the absence of the captain to organise and try and help people.” – Daily Mail

The Cowardice

One couple, French military officer Ophelie Gondelle and police officer David Du Pays, said they saw the captain in a lifeboat, covered by a blanket, well before all the passengers were off the ship.
Asked about the suggestion that the captain had abandoned ship, senior prosecutor Francesco Verusio said: ‘Unfortunately, I must confirm that circumstance.’ Daily Mail

The Rumours

British dancer Rose Metcalf, who was among the last to be lifted off the ship early on Saturday, said that there was a rumour among staff that the captain had fled with cash. At the family home in Wimborne, Dorset, her father Philip, 56, said: ‘Other members of staff said that the captain and possibly his first officer left the ship as soon as it hit the rock. They said the captain emptied the safe and fled with the money. ‘She didn’t know if it was true, but if it was she didn’t want him to get away with it. She said that the command structure had broken down and they had to organise the evacuation themselves.’

The Hero

Frenchwoman Nicole Servel, 61, said Francis Servel, 71, gave her his lifejacket before they leapt off the sinking cruise ship. She said: ‘I owe my life to my husband – it’s obvious he saved me.’ She managed to swim for shore, while Mr Servel was swept underwater and drowned.’

The Curse

If maritime superstitions are to be believed, the Costa Concordia was doomed from the moment it was launched. When a grand christening ceremony was held in July 2006 in the port of Civitavecchia, the ceremonial champagne bottle failed to smash against the hull of the luxury liner now on its side in the sea as rescue workers hunt for missing passengers and wet the bow… It is a sign some seafarers consider to be a harbinger of bad luck. Ominously, the Titanic was never christened…

The latest accident occurred on Friday the 13th, a day some consider unlucky. – Western Advocate (Aus)

No Crows’ Nest

But as he approached Isola del Giglio and its quaint villages, imposing church spires, cliffs and offshore rocks, Captain Schettino seems to have ignored the first rule of seamanship: look around, know where you are and keep a safe distance from land. He would have done well to have heeded some advice from the redoubtable Admiral John Smith, the English explorer and colonist of North America who, among

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Posted: 17th, January 2012 | In: Key Posts, News Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink