COSTA CONCORDIA One Week Later. Includes Early Statement From Costa Cruises

DigitalGlobe image of COSTA CONOCORDIA taken 308 miles above the Earth on Jan 17, 2012

In the span of one week since the grounding of the COSTA CONCORDIA, many words have been written and images have flashed across television screens throughout the world.  The media continues to search for ever more salacious elements to a story that by itself  is already not lacking in drama.    The grounding of the COSTA CONCORDIA occurred at 9:42pm on Friday, January 13, 2012 on rocks protruding within a few hundred yards of Isola del Giglio off the Tuscan coast.   The known facts seven days later are that 11 people are now confirmed dead and 21 are still missing and presumed lost according to the Italian Crisis Unit.  Although searchers continue looking, it appears very unlikely that any survivors will still be found aboard the capsized ship.

The Costa Cruises website now has a series of video statements on various aspects of the wreck which can be viewed.  In the initial uncertainty of those first days after the ship rolled over, the facts, photos and itineraries of the COSTA CONCORDIA were taken down and replaced with official written statements from Costa.  Those have since been removed as well.  In the interest of preserving the historical record of what the company officially issued at the time, here is a portion of one of these early releases:

Sunday, January 15

“Our immediate priority is to account for all passengers and crew, and to secure the vessel to ensure that there are no environmental impacts. We have engaged the services of a top specialized salvage company to develop an action plan and help establish a protection perimeter around the ship. It should be noted that the Prosecutor has seized the ship and the DVR— the so-called “black box” containing all navigation data — and the vessel can be accessed by Costa only with permission from the authorities.

We are working with investigators to find out precisely what went wrong aboard the Costa Concordia. 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. 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. We are aware that the lead Prosecutor has leveled serious accusations against the ship’s captain, who joined Costa Crociere in 2002 as a safety officer and was appointed captain in 2006.

In light of these accusations and the continuing investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.

As we are learning more about the event and the evacuation, however, it is becoming clear that the crew of the Costa Concordia acted bravely and swiftly to help evacuate more than 4,000 individuals during a very challenging situation. We are very grateful for all they have done.

Costa is committed to ensuring that no such incident ever occurs again. Our number-one priority is always the safety and security of our guests and crew, and we comply with all safety regulations.”

Carnival Corporation CEO, Micky Arison added the following statement:

“At this time, our priority is the safety of our passengers and crew.  We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding of the Costa Concordia and especially to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives.”

With a shipwreck this highly visible, there is no doubt that the story of the COSTA CONCORDIA will continue to unfold for a very long time.  Already there has been talk of a motion picture, and in the U.S. the ABC-television program “20/20” has devoted an hour of air time for their “investigative report.”  So-called entertainment shows are including nightly stories about the disaster in between gossip about Hollywood celebrities.  The facts will continue to emerge but it is my sincere hope that readers of these pages will remember that this is a tragedy on many levels, but especially on a human level.  Lives have been needlessly lost and families are grieving for them.  It is normal to have a fascination with an event involving the largest passenger shipwreck in history, but the story should not be allowed to devolve into mere entertainment.



Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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