Below is a transcript of some of the key questions asked during this mornings press conference held regarding the Costa Concordia accident.
The company sent out an official statement yesterday afternoon.
The speaker is Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and chief executive officer of Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruises.
Some of the answers are paraphrased due to translation and not promised to be typed error free.
Can you give us more details on the captain?
The captain started with us in 2002 where he started his career. Prior he was a second captain (staff captain) with another cruise line and then came over to Costa in 2002 as a safety officer. He was promoted to a staff captain and then in 2006 he became a captain at Costa. He has never been involved in any event.
Why does the law require a life boat drill within 24 hours after sailing time and will this be considered in the future?
We are going to review. We comply always with laws. The ship embarks in several ports so the only passengers getting the drill would be those embarking. The passengers not embarking in Civitavecchia (Rome) were repeat passengers and have been briefed on prior cruises. Anybody who embarks has a safety video displayed in their cabin. That is visible to everyone who boards the ship.
Why didn’t crew members interfere with the captains decision?
The captain has final command of the vessel. In this instance the captain went off route and went into water with not enough notice in advance.
Does training include these evacuation circumstances?
There’s no doubt we are geared to safety and security. Every other week all ships do a boat drill and training, the whole crew, to get ready for these circumstances. In our own judgment in this case the crew did very well and we need to thank them. They were able to evacuate in two hours time, four thousand, two hundred people under very severe circumstances. The ship was inclined to us only using one side of the life boats for evacuation. The fact that the ship was listing created a very difficult position. To simulate this type of circumstance is very difficult and we will think about how will improve our training program.
Do you have any hope in find anymore survivors?
Yes, hope is the last thing to die.
What kind of security measures are you going to implement after this incident?
We believe we are responding to not only what the law requires but going way beyond what they require. Also having policies and procedures checked by outside entities to make sure we are safe and secure. I am not in the position today to say if there will be any immediate changes effective today. We do not have all the information to entirely understand the entire timing of the accident because of the information (that’s with) investigators.
There’s a lot of speculation of the captain and his responsibility of the incident but what kind of responsibility does the shipping company have since this happened?
The shipping company, as in our shipping company, is very strict in terms of safety, in terms of security, in terms of training. We provide all kind of support in order to allow all our crew to respect and follow to the most the stringent regulations. The captains responsibility is being indicated by the prosecutors because of the human error that was under the control of the captain.
How many liters of fuels were on the ship, which kind and how much?
There’s 2,300-tons between heavy fuel (the ship uses) and also a reasonable quantity of gas-oil for other uses on the ship. Fuel is not near any of the water, however its near a sea that we need to protect.
Did the captain abandon ship?
We are unable to ascertain that question until the close of the investigation. Some testimony says he really tried to stay on-board but we have to wait for the formal investigation.
How far from the shore was the vessel when it hit the rock?
We do not have the data to know exactly, but we believe it was about 150 meters from the meter.
How many people remain missing?
There are still some crew and guests missing. The number is changing and the authorities will release this information.
Can you give me the details of the navigation equipment on the bridge?
This ship is a certified ship. It was build and delivered in 2006. It is the most contemporary and navigational system in the world. Before the ship entered service is required strict certification from the Italian and US Coast Guard to make sure we have the highest level in this sense.
Does the ship reply on charts as primary navigation source or rely on GPS?
We use computerized maps which are in constant connection with the GPS.
Who was manning the bridge on the incident?
There was three people on the bridge, the captain and his assistants.
Is the Costa Concordia a total loss?
It’s too early to comment if we can save the ship or not.
How much is the cost of this incident and will it affect the industry?
The cost of this incident is expected to be around $93-million. There will be some impact on the company as well. There will be a little downtown in the industry, the industry is extremely safe and the consumer knows that and is very confident.
Have there been many cancellations since the event?
There really hasn’t been enough time to tell since the weekend is very slow for booking. We will know more at the end of today.
What will Costa do to restore public confidence?
The company has been sailing for over 60-years, the management of the ships, the loyalty of the customers, I’m sure Costa will emerge as strong as it was before the incident.
Do you have any explanation on why the captain changed the ships course?
Yes, he wanted to show the ship to the nearby island and pass in front of the little city.
Should the on-board navigation system sound an alarm or is there sonar about the dangers of running aground?
Id like to repeat that we have visual and sound if the ship deviates by any reason from the stated route stored in the computer controlled by the GPS. Of course it can be manually over-ridden. This was a particular incident. There was a lot of water under the bridge but some small rocks where the captain decided to change the course of the ship.
Is it possible to get a time-line?
We are unable to give this information because all the info is stored in the black box which is in the hands of the prosecutor. The captain did call our department at 10:05pm on Friday night.
What caused the black-out on the ship?
Water intake from hitting the rock caused shortages.
Will there be baggage compensation?
Passengers need be assured that we will take care of them.
Passengers stated that some lifeboats were not functioning?
I was not aware of any lifeboats not working. All of them were efficient and worked. The crew performed duties according to procedures.
How many passengers got on in Civitavecchia (Rome)?
696 and 3,206 were aboard at the time of incident.
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