costa concordia

Photo: Wikipedia

Stephen P. Moschetta was recently featured on the John Williams Talk Radio Show airing on WCCO, a CBS affiliate in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to discuss the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.

On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia, carrying over 4,000 passengers and crew, deviated from safe travel lanes and sank on a reef off the island of Giglios, Italy, after striking an underwater rock formation.

The Italian-flag cruise ship left the Civitavecchia port of Rome with 600 new passengers and had only been at sea for a few hours when it ran aground.  According to reports, the crew had not conducted the so-called “muster drill” for the passengers who just boarded.  Unfortunately, the safety drill was not scheduled until the following day.

The ship approached the island of Gilgio from the south but sailed too close to the coastline and struck a rocky reef a few hundred yards out.  Passengers report that the ship violently listed (tilted) and eventually capsized.

The master of the ship, Captain Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest and is under investigation for crimes including manslaughter.  The owner of the Concordia, Costa Cruises, a Carnival Cruise Lines company, has placed all blame on the captain claiming “human error” was the cause of the disaster.  However, it is difficult to imagine that Costa Cruises was unaware that the Concordia was so close to land given today’s technology.  Also, this disaster demonstrates the importance of crew training and safety policies.  For cruise ships sailing from ports in the United States, “muster drills” are the first order of business once all passengers are on board.  Cruise ship operators must promulgate policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all passengers while on the ship, and particularly during evacuations to life boats.