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Home / CRUISING THE PAST / From the RMS TITANIC to the USA (Carnival Corp) owned COSTA CONCORDIA… nothing is unsinkable.

From the RMS TITANIC to the USA (Carnival Corp) owned COSTA CONCORDIA… nothing is unsinkable.

(Carnival Corps) Costa Concordia Survivors: Crew Fled In Life Jackets!

“Cruise ships can be “death traps” IMO. I’m sure evacuation was confusing, 4000 panicked people trying to escape a sinking “tin can”? Wow. Evacuation­s need to be practiced repeatedly to be effective and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do this on a cruise ship with “weekend warriors”…”These top-heavy lavish-tubs are unsafe even dockside! One wonders if Capt. was sober, and seems Navigator & Pilot were not at all skilled; –even worse is being trapped in the ship’s Glass-elevator (-where divers may still find some poor souls)!!!” “These ships are floating hell holes… the crews don’t speak english… they aren’t trained…with greedy Americans making all the money like Carnival Corp…” “Never again aboard a giant ship…” A few of many comments…

Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis of the Seas.  The largest cruise ship in the world.  Imagine having to evacuate this floating condo with over 9000 passengers and crew in a major storm or fire at sea.  Good luck!

Absolutely terrifying video of passengers trying to reach lifeboats on stricken Carnival Corp liner Costa Concordia. U.S.-based Carnival Corporation, the owner of the luxury cruise ship sinking off the Italian coast and the world’s largest cruise line, faces millions of dollars in losses from the accident and perhaps years of litigation over damage claims.  Carnival is based in the southern city of Miami, Florida and annually attracts about half the world’s 15 million sea-going tourists to its 101 ships. The corporation runs 11 cruise lines, including some of the best known global brands — Carnival, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and others.

Cruise and Liner History: From the RMS TITANIC to the Carnival Corp’s COSTA CONCORDIA… nothing is unsinkable.

It was the largest passenger ship ever built and promised travelers the latest in luxury and security, touting new sink-proof technology.

None of this mattered when it collided with a large object and sank in a matter of minutes, with huge loss of life.

It was — of course —  the Titanic, on her maiden voyage in 1912. Of the 2,223 people on board, 1,517 died, including Captain Edward J. Smith, mainly because there were not enough lifeboats.

The Costa Concordia nearly in port.  The ship is owned by USA based Carnival Corp.

A century later, it was the turn of the Costa Concordia, more a floating hotel than a ship and bristling with GPS, computers and all manner of modern equipment. Ignoring all built-in safeguards, Captain Francesco Schettino set course for the Tuscan coast and ended up on rocks off the island of Giglio.

Thankfully, the loss of life was minimal, but survivors have described Titanic-like moments as they crawled in the darkness and confusion toward exits and rescue. Burly crewmen elbowed women aside in the stampede for the lifeboats while Capt. Schettino abandoned ship before many passengers.

Italians are reeling at this exhibition of cowardice and incompetence. In a front-page editorial for the daily Corriere della Sera, Pierluigi Battista wrings his hands.

This time we don’t even have the excuse of a natural disaster … this tragedy, in addition to the death of several people, includes a baffling sequence of irresponsibility, evidence of incompetence, conceit and cowardice, which richly deserve a severe response without mitigation for everyone caught up in this folly. In addition, there’s a pervading sense of inattention to safety, of unforgivable mistakes that could have been avoided, to prevent such a disaster unfolding a few metres off the island of Giglio.

How did the ship find itself in such a position? …

Italy owes the world, international public opinion, the families of those who lost their lives, those who were injured and those who fortunately remained unhurt, a convincing explanation and the toughest possible sanctions against those responsible for this tragedy.

An editorial in the Gulf News calls for the behavior of those in charge of the cruise vessel to be fully investigated:

No doubt there will be a full criminal investigation and a thorough inquiry by coast guard and maritime officials. The behavior of the ship’s crew, officers and senior personnel needs to be fully investigated to ensure their actions in abandoning the vessel were consistent with the highest standards of maritime tradition, and that they met all of their legal requirements before leaving the stricken vessel. It’s hard to comprehend that the vessel simply was the victim of a single technical error. If human error is to blame, those responsible need to be held fully accountable before the law for their actions — or inaction.

In The Guardian, Gwyn Topham, the paper’s transportation expert, notes,

The Costa Concordia was Europe’s largest-ever cruise ship when it launched in 2006, with a giant spa and two swimming pools covered by a crystal roof – a ship, Costa promised, to “symbolize peace and harmony between European nations”. Today, it raises the spectre of the kind of disaster the cruise industry and its passengers hoped was long past. What the world now sees is that ships costing the better part of $1-billion can still be holed by a rock. Instead of size making them impregnable they are, as 100 years ago on the Titanic, liable to be the scene of terrifying, tragic disaster. And as on that famously “unsinkable” ship, passengers relied in vain on inadequate lifeboats.

For Andrew Linington, director of communications for Nautilus, the union for maritime professionals, the accident was inevitable.

Perhaps the most commonly voiced reaction to the Costa Concordia accident is how can such a thing happen in the 21st century? For many of us working in the shipping industry, it is more of a surprise that it hasn’t happened earlier. And nobody can say that the warning signs weren’t there …

The size of these ships has continued to rise inexorably. Cruise shipping has been a boom industry and – in response to market growth and to maximize the benefits of the economy of scale – the largest vessels have in recent years doubled in size from 80,000 gross tons to over 160,000gt. The new generation of mega-ships can carry more than 6,000 passengers and 1,800 crew – the equivalent of a small town – and this alone has created equally massive challenges.

Homing in on reports the crew’s cowardice, The Daily Mail’s Steve Dougherty recalls the example of the troopship HMS Birkenhead, which sank off South Africa in 1852.

More than 100 soldiers were drowned in the aftermath of the collision, but the remainder obeyed orders to man pumps, launch lifeboats, or stand in ranks on the poop deck in order to slow the ship sinking by the bow …  There are thought to have been seven women and 13 children aboard, all of whom were put in boats and saved. As the ship went under, the captain told the soldiers and sailors to save themselves, but the senior army officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Seton, saw that the boats could be swamped in the rush, and so ordered his men to stand. Only three broke ranks. Only 193 of the 643 souls believed aboard were saved, mainly by swimming two miles to the shore. Some drowned even as they reached the rocky shoreline, and many others were eaten by sharks.