It’s been one year since Costa Concordia sunk off the Tuscan Coast (hear our broadcast recounting the events with a passenger), claiming 32 lives and teaching the cruise lines some stern lessons. Though 4,229 passengers escaped the half-sunken ship, this case is far from closed.
So fast forward 365 days, where do we stand?
(Former) Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of reckless seamanship and causing the accident, though not taking full blame for the accident, he is still quick to pass the buck. “If we had not turned, we would not have hit anything,” Schettino said in a recent interview airing a year after the accident. He claims his orders were misunderstood by a helmsman. As of now, there have been no formal charges against the captain.
Many of the passengers have went on with their lives, some have gone on to write books, while others chose to forget the night of January 13. One of the books, written by passenger Benji Smith and titled Abandoned Ship: An Intimate Account of the Costa Concordia Shipwreck, tells the story of the couple’s harrowing journey escaping from the sinking vessel.
The uninjured passengers were offered a lump sum of $14,500 USD to cover expenses and items lost; also every attempt will be made to return items left in the stateroom safes.
The salvage operation was award to American-owned Titan Salvage, a leader in ship wreck removals.
The operation is divided into four basic stages:
- After stabilizing the ship, a subsea platform will be built and caissons (tanks) that can be filled with water will be fixed to the side of the ship that is out of the water
- Two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright, helped by the tanks, which will be filled with water
- When the ship is upright, caissons will also be fixed to the other side of the hull
- The tanks on both sides will then be emptied, after treating and purifying the water to protect the marine environment, and filled with air.
The overall salvage operation was supposed to take a year, now a year-and-a-half looks more realistic. The operation is expected to cost almost a half billion dollars. You can see more images of how the ship will be floated in our Facebook Album.
CLIA (Cruise Line International Association), an organization that represents a majority of the cruise lines, formed the Global Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review shortly after the Costa Concordia accident. These panel of experts reviewed cruise line procedures with a fine tooth comb and made some changes to some of the standard operating procedures. Some of the major modifications were making emergency lifeboat drills mandatory for everyone, restricting navigational bridge access while in operation, additional training for lifeboat loading and securing objects.
Is Cruising Safe?
“The fact is, cruising has never been more safe. New procedures that came of the Costa Concordia event may save many lives to come,” says travel writer Chris Owen, of popular cruise blog ChrisCruises.net.
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