Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update: Captain of Italian Cruise-Ship Arrested

As an update to my earlier postings on the running aground of the Italian cruise-ship, Costa Concordia, yesterday (January 13), Francesco Schettino, the captain of the ship, was arrested later today (January 14), and is being investigated for abandoning ship and manslaughter. As this posting is filed, three people have been killed, 20 injured and dozens unaccounted for.

Schettino reportedly lied to investigators in Porto Santo Stefano about what happened when the 4,200-passenger Costa Concordia struck rocks in shallow water off Italy's western coast, saying that he and his crew were the last to leave the ship. Interestingly, no may-day message was transmitted to nearby ships and vessels. An estimated 43 to 51 people remain missing from the ship.

COMMENT: What is known is that two French tourists and a crew member from Peru were killed. One of the victims was a 65-year-old woman who died of a heart attack, according to authorities.

Nautilus International, a maritime employees trade union, called the accident a "wake-up call" to regulators. "Nautilus is concerned about the rapid recent increases in the size of passenger ships -- with the average tonnage doubling over the past decade," said Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson in a statement. "Many ships are now effectively small towns at sea, and the sheer number of people on-board raises serious questions about evacuation."

The ship was 2.5 miles off course when it struck a rocky sandbar, according to the Italian Coast Guard, which has initiated an investigation into the "accident."

Most of the passengers on board were Italian, as well as some French, German, Brazilians, Americans, and Peruvians.

Another Costa ship was involved in a deadly 2010 accident when the "Costa Europa" crashed into a pier in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh during stormy weather, killing three crew members.

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