“We at Costa Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected.
Over the past 48 hours, more than 1,100 Costa employees have been working tirelessly in the wake of this terrible event. We are working closely with the authorities to support ongoing search-and-rescue operations, and are focusing on ensuring that all guests and crewmembers return home safely.
Our immediate priority is to account for all passengers and crew, and to secure the vessel to ensure that there are no environmental impacts. We have engaged the services of a top specialized salvage company to develop an action plan and help establish a protection perimeter around the ship. It should be noted that the Prosecutor has seized the ship and the DVR — the so-called “black box” containing all navigation data — and the vessel can be accessed by Costa only with permission from the authorities.
We are working with investigators to find out precisely what went wrong aboard the Costa Concordia. While the investigation is ongoing, preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences. The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and in handling the emergency the captain appears not to have followed standard Costa procedures. We are aware that the lead Prosecutor has leveled serious accusations against the ship’s captain, who joinedCosta Crociere in 2002 as a safety officer and was appointed captain in 2006.
In light of these accusations and the continuing investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.
As we are learning more about the event and the evacuation, however, it is becoming clear that the crew of the Costa Concordia acted bravely and swiftly to help evacuate more than 4,000 individuals during a very challenging situation. We are very grateful for all they have done.
Costa is committed to ensuring that no such incident ever occurs again. Our number-one priority is always the safety and security of our guests and crew, and we comply with all safety regulations. (See background on Costa safety below).
Background on Costa’s Commitment to Safety
Costa complies very strictly with all safety regulations and our personnel are committed, first and foremost, to guest safety and security.
All crewmembers hold a BST (Basic Safety Training) certificate and are trained and prepared in emergency management and to assist passengers abandoning the ship with numerous drills. Roles, responsibilities and duties are clearly assigned to all crewmembers. Every two weeks all crewmembers perform a ship evacuation simulation. A lifeboat and evacuation drill for all guests is conducted within 24 hours of embarking, as required by law. Costa has a computerized system that ensures all passengers undergo this drill.
The skills of Costa crew are periodically tested by Coast Guard authorities and an independent classification organization, per SMS (Safety Management Systems) requirements.
There are lifeboats and jackets on board in excess of the number required for all passengers and crew. Lifeboats are equipped with food and water supplies, first-aid kits and communication and signaling equipment. All life-saving appliances meet international standards and are subject to close, regular inspection by shipboard personnel and certification authorities. All Costa ships are certified by RINA and have been built to the highest standards and technologies.
A previous statement
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2012, 12:30 p.m. EST) — This is the latest statement issued regarding Costa Concordia by Costa Crociere’s Corporate Communications Department. According to Costa, this is the last statement that will be issued today, though updates will follow.
"I want to express our deep sorrow for this terrible tragedy,” said Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere. “I am only now able to speak on behalf of Costa because, as you will understand, I have been at Isola del Giglio to be close to the rescue operations.
“First, I would like to thank all the authorities, law enforcement and volunteers who provided assistance to our guests and crew involved in this terrible event.
“We are not at this time able to answer all questions because the authorities are trying, with our cooperation, to understand the reasons for this incident.
“On the basis of the initial evidence — still preliminary — Costa Concordia, under the command of Master Francesco Schettino, was sailing its regularly scheduled itinerary from Civitavecchia to Savona, Italy, when the ship struck a submerged rock.
“Captain Schettino, who was on the bridge at the time, immediately understood the severity of the situation and performed a maneuver intended to protect both guests and crew, and initiated security procedures to prepare for an eventual ship evacuation.
“Unfortunately, that operation was complicated by a sudden tilting of the ship that made disembarkation difficult.
“Thanks to the commitment of the agencies coordinated by the Coast Guard, rescue operations have been continuing.
“From the moment we were alerted, Costa mobilized all its resources ashore to assist our guests and crewmembers, and to prevent potential environmental impacts.”
For information, friends and families members can contact the U.S. call center at 800-462-6782.