Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update: Italian Cruise-ship Runs Aground, Tips Over in Tuscany

As a follow-up to my earlier posting, three bodies have been recovered from the site where Costa Cruise's Costa Concordia ran aground and tipped over. Sixty-nine people are still unaccounted for after the ship ran aground off the tiny island of Giglio late on Friday (January 13), tearing a 160-foot gash in its hull.

Thus far, authorities have accounted for 4,165 of the 4,234 people who had boarded the liner. There were reports that three other people had died, but those reports have not been confirmed by the Italian Coast Guard. By today, the ship was lying virtually flat off Giglio's coast, its starboard side submerged in the water.

COMMENT: Passengers complained that crew members failed to give instructions on how to evacuate and once the emergency became clear, delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many of them to be released. The evacuation drill was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, even though some passengers had already been on board for several days.

Several passengers said crew members for a good 45 minutes told passengers there was a simple "technical problem" that had caused the lights to go off. Seasoned cruisers, however, knew better and went to get their life jackets in their rooms and report to their "muster stations." Once there, crew members delayed lowering the lifeboats even thought the ship was listing badly.

The cruise-line has yet to make a public statement as to the cause of the ship running aground, but given the delays and disorganized evacuation that witnesses have reported, "damage control" will be alive and well when a statement is made.

It should be noted that the Costa Cruise line is owned by Carnival.

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