Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Costa Concordia - First Sinking of 'Apartment Building' type Ship

In a blog I posted on January 14th and 15th on the Costa Concordia sinking - the first sinking of these 'Apartment Building Ships' - I warned people that these ships are dangerously top heavy and that the extreme listing that the Costa Concordia experienced immediately after hitting a sunmerged reef made abandoning the ship extremely difficult.

In another incident in Feburary 2010, the captain of another Costa Cruise Lines ship, the Costa Europa, used the ships ballast tanks to list the ship in order to lift a breach above the water line.

Costa Europa lists to port while docked at Sharm el-Sheikh - 26 Feb 2010. The Captain listed the ship to port in order to keep 20 metre starboard breach above the water line.
Image coutsesy The Sun UK -

By some accounts the Costa Concordia listed to port immediately upon impact with the submerged rock -  which sliced into the hull to the stern of midships. The impact caused the bow of the ship to turn to port and caused the coincident list to port. As the ship stopped turning on the reef it became apparent to the Captain that the ship was taking on water. I think, as per normal procedure on Costa Cruise ships, the Captain ordered the starboard ballasts filled to right the ship -- but by the time this was done there was already so much water in the lower decks that the maneuver basically sunk the ship.

Here's a radio conversation between the Captain of the Italian Coast Guard at Livorno, Captain Del Falco, and the Captain of the Costa Concordia, Captain Francesco Schettino - about 2 hours into the sinking, at approximately 11:00PM local time Friday 13 January 2012.

During the conversation he tries to deflect criticism of why he is not on board directing the the evacuation of the Costa Concordia,  by revealing that the ship’s 2nd officer Dimitri Christidis, and 3rd officer Silvia Coronia are also with him on the same life boat. ???

Question:  How does a 14 year old get to be the Captain of one of the biggest passenger ships in the world?

Next question: We now know Captain Francesco Schettino has taken this bravado route between the Island of Giglio and the rock outcrop just outside the  Port of Giglio at least 4 times (see video). Was Costa Cruise Lines aware of this? If so, what steps did they take to make the Captain stick to the programmed route? And as well, was the Captain and/or Costa Cruise Lines taking this dangerous route in order to sell cruise tickets to wealthy tourists that frequent this elite Tuscan coast island?
Via "daiquiri" at "Boat Design Forum" -

Engineering and Design
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Location: Northern Italy (lake Garda) and Croatia (Istria)

It turns out that it was a deliberate passage of the ship close to the Giglio island, and it has been done several times in the past for the joy of islanders. This is video shows the same ship doing the same thing last summer:

Excess of confidence?

Video via "CorriereTV" -