I’ve been busy lately, and have a lot to catch up on, especially with regard to the big news story lately, the wreck of COSTA CONCORDIA – this page tells all about her (not about the wreck): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Concordia
I think the thing that has struck me – and probably a lot of you as well – was the Master’s apparent abandonment of his ship and passengers during the emergency. Here’s a transcript of a conversation he had with the Port Captain – pretty shocking: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/17/italy-ship-tape-idUSL6E8CH37Q20120117 And, here’s the actual audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM9sam2u_Tk
A former cruise line safety manager and Master gives his opinion, and it’s pretty harsh: http://networkedblogs.com/sT5Gm
Schettino explains his action that resulted in the grounding: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16620807 (He apparently had no precise idea where the ship actually was, but was using "eyeball navigation" to con his large ship in those circumstances!) His explanation for leaving the ship? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2087704/Costa-Concordia-Captain-Francesco-Schettino-I-left-I-FELL-lifeboat.html
Giglio’s Mayor went on board COSTA CONCORDIA to help with the evacuation, and says he “never saw Schettino” and had trouble finding any officers at all: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16638399
This report seems to indicate that the crew were in denial, assuring passengers that all was well, that it was a generator problem, and to return to their cabins – this after the ship had already struck, been holed and was taking water: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16641592 Over an hour passed before the order to abandon ship was given. In view of the fact that people have died, a much more prudent and proactive emergency response was in order. Were Schettino and his staff paralyzed by the events?
Another Wikipedia page devoted solely to the COSTA CONCORDIA wreck at Giglio is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Concordia_disaster
Former Captain Schettino and first officer Ambrosio have been arrested. Much investigation remains to be done, so we won’t hear the full truth for a long time. So far as COSTA CONCORDIA, Smit has been contracted to deal with the wreck, and no one knows at this point whether she can be salvaged or not.
Personally I think it’s a sad day for our profession - and for those who trust us - that this incident happened in the first place. Poor judgment in spades was shown with regard to navigation, on a ship with so many sophisticated resources. And the emergency was handled so spectacularly badly by the officers and crew of COSTA CONCORDIA that it makes me ashamed as a seaman. I live in a country where the public at large knows little of the marine world. I hate to see a story like this become emblematic of marine professionals!