Experts selected by the Italian magistrate presiding over the investigation into the Concordia disaster have criticized the Costa cruise line in addition to the Concordia cruise ship's reckless captain.
Notwithstanding the cruise industry's media campaign to portray the incident as solely the result of Captain Schettino's renegade conduct, the Italian experts included criticisms of Costa in their initial opinions submitted to the magistrate in Genoa.
The experts studied black box data, recordings of conversations of the officers, and nautical maps.
The criticisms include:
- Costa delayed alerting coastal authorities of the emergency.
- Costa's "fleet crisis coordinator," Roberto Ferrarini, did not promptly inform Schettino to order the passengers and crew to abandon ship when he learned that three compartments were flooded which compromised the vessel's stability.
- The crew members were untrained, unprepared and not certified for emergencies.
- Language barrier between crew members compromised the navigation of the ship and complicated the evacuation of the ship. Indonesian helmsman at one point before the crash veered to the right despite being told to go left.
These criticisms seem rather restrained to me. Costa did not even have a protocol to require muster station drills before sailing for goodness sake! The cruise line has been criticized in the press for permitting and approving "fly-bys" or "salutes" which is the root cause of the disaster.
Costa categorically denied all responsibility for the deaths and dismissed all of these criticisms.
The next hearing is scheduled for October 15th.
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