Saturday, January 14th
Time 5.00 am
It is a tragedy that deeply affects our company. Our first thoughts go to the victims and we would like to express our condolences and our closeness to their families and friends. In this moment all our efforts are focused on the completion of the last emergency operations, besides providing assistance to the guests and the crew who were onboard in order to have them going back home as soon as possible. The emergency procedures started promptly to evacuate the ship. The slope, gradually taken over by the ship, made the evacuation extremely difficult. We would like to express our profound gratitude to the Coast Guard and all the forces co-ordinated by the Coast Guard, including the authorities and citizens of the island “Isola del Giglio”, who have been involved in the rescue and assistance to guests and crew members. The company will fully co-operate with the relevant Authorities in order to determine the causes of what happened.
Time 1.00 am
Costa Cruises confirms the evacuation of about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members on board of the Costa Concordia. An incident occured near the island 'Isola del Giglio' of the coast of Italy. The evacuation started promptly, but the position of the ship has worsened, making it more complicated to complete the last part of the evacuation. At this moment, the cause of the incident cannot yet be confirmed. The Company is currently working with the highest commitment to provide all the needed assistance. The Costa Concordia was sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo. About 1.000 passengers of Italian nationality were onboard, as well as more of 500 Germans, about 160 French and about 1.000 crew members.
The Guests had to embark today in Savona and in subsequent ports will be contacted directly by Costa Cruises.
We at Cruize Cast have been watching the developing story of the Costa Concordia running aground and listing on a pier since news first broke last night. I thought it best to link you to all the best stories on the subject I have found.
For passenger accounts, this MSNBC story http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45996523/ns/travel/ tells of a mishandled passenger evacuation and ship negligence in conducting the boat drill. It raises questions in my mind about why the Costa crew was so hesitant to admit there was a serious problem and evacuate the ship before it became as dire as this account suggests.
For a detailed timeline, another MSNBC story http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/13/10152446-cruise-ship-runs-aground-off-italy-deaths-reported gives a better idea of what actually happened, including reports of the what the Captain may have been trying to do by steering the ship closer to port after it was hit by something which ripped a 160 foot gash into the ship.
Fox News has a slide-show which shows the ship's progress into the water on one side as it apprears to be sinking. http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/world/2012/01/14/luxury-ship-runs-aground-off-italy-bodies-found/#slide=1
One wonders if the ship is, indeed, in shallow enough water that it will sink no further, and if the ship is salvagable. The Fox News article is pretty much a combination of all the information in previous articles, with a few new stories from passengers. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/13/cruise-ship-reportedly-runs-aground-off-coast-italy-at-least-3-dead/?test=latestnews
We will continue to follow this story and will post updates, but our first impressions are that this is terrible for the cruise industry, especially with all the comparisons to Titanic. The biggest problem I see is the lack of safety drill and the reticence of the captain to actually recognize the emergency and call for evacuation until it was practically too late. Future cruisers should know that a postponed saftety drill is simply not an option on American owned cruise lines, with the drill always conducted before the ship is allowed to set sail. I would have thought that Costa, a company owned by Carnival Corp. would have the same rules, but obviously that it not the case. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and missing.