Costa Concordia Emerges from the Sea

Twenty months after the Costa Concordia crashed into the rocks and capsized off the coast of Giglio in a maritime disaster that killed 32 people and terrorized thousands others, the cruise ship emerged from the Mediterranean this morning following a spectacular "parbuckling" salvage effort costing over $800 million. 

With many millions watching via live streaming video, the stricken cruise ship was slowly pulled upright in the dark morning hours today.

As the sun rose over Giglio, you could see that the vessel was upright. It now needs to be re-floated and secured for its final voyage next year when it will be towed away to be cut into scrap metal. 

"The rotation has finished its course, we are at zero degrees, the ship is resting on the platforms," said Italy's civil protection chief, Franco Gabrielli, at a 4 a.m. news conference on Giglio island, where he was applauded and cheered by residents.

There is no word yet whether the bodies of cruise passenger, Maria Trecarichi, and Costa crew member, Russel Rebello, have been located in the ship.

Photo Credit: Giglio News

Giglio costa Concordia Upright

Costa Concordia Salvage Begins Now

Costa Concordia Parbuckling GiglioIts been over 20 months since the Costa Concordia sailed into the rocks near the little port of Giglio. Thousands of passengers and crew panicked. 32 souls perished. 2 bodies of the dead remain in the sea.

Here is my first blog about the disaster. Little did I know just how bad the situation really was that night.

Its been over 20 months since the eyesore of the capsized Concordia lay on her side at the port like a beached whale. 

Its been a crime scene ever since. Captain Schettino is standing trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. The Costa organization and parent Carnival Corporation largely escaped liability, with all of the blame carefully heaped on the unpopular "Captain Coward."

I wonder where Captain Schettino is this morning?  What is he thinking?  

What are the families of the dead and missing feeling at these early morning hours?

I bet Carnival cruise tycoon, Micky Arison, is sleeping like a baby, without a care in the world. 

It looks like a beautiful morning in Giglio.

It's time to right the cursed ship and prepare to take her from her watery grave.

The "parbuckling" salvage efforts finally begins. 

 Giglio Costa Concordia

You can watch the Giglio News web cam here.

You can watch the Reuters live streaming web cam here.

Image Credit: Giglio News

One More Day Before the Costa Concordia Rises from the Sea

Monday morning the much talked about "parbuckling" project will finally start to try and raise the stricken Costa Concordia cruise ship from the port of Giglio.

I have clicked on the web cams at the port of Giglio hundreds of times since January of 2012 to see what has been happening with the Concordia at the little port.

There are high hopes that this extravagant and expensive project will finally rid Giglio of this Costa eyesore.  While there will be great excitement surrounding the event, the cruise ship  is still considered a crime scene. Thirty-two people died in the accident. Captain Schettino remains on trial for manslaughter, causing the wreck and abandoning ship. 

There are still two Concordia victims whose bodies have not been recovered and may be trapped on the ship somewhere.      

The removal of the shipwreck will in many ways be the removal of a watery graveyard.  It should be a serious and somber event. 

Costa Concordia Giglio Italy

Image Credit: Giglio News

QuadroCopter Operators Arrested in Giglio for Filming Costa Concordia

Team Black sheep - Costa Concordia GiglioA company called Team Black Sheep, specializing in remote controlled, model-copter photography and video services, captured some interesting images while travelling to Giglio, the site of the infamous Costa Concordia disaster.

Using a device referred to as a "quadrocopter," which they flew over the port of Giglio, the Black Sheet Team recorded video of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship.

The team members were later arrested because videoing or photographing the area is now banned according to the Black Sheep YouTube page.   

You can see some photos of the stricken cruise ship here on the Black Sheet Facebook page.

Hat tip to gCaptain for the story.

 

Criminal Case Continues Against Captain Schettino - Island of Giglio Requests Compensation of 80,000,000 Euros

Giglio Costa ConcordiaA court in Italy is proceeding with preliminary hearings to consider evidence whether Captain Francesco Schettino will face trial for criminal charges for his involvement in the Costa Concordia disaster. 

Schettino, labelled "Captain Calamity" in the press, appeared at the proceedings yesterday, faces a trial on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. 

The Italian prosecutors requested the indictment of four crew members in the case, including the ship's helmsman, as well as Costa employee Roberto Ferrarini, the head of Costa Crociere's "crisis unit" who is accused of delaying the evacuation of the cruise ships.

The island of Giglio, which is the site of the stricken vessel, has requested permission to sue Captain Schettino, alleging that the island's image as a beautiful tourist spot has been irreparably damaged by the disaster. The island's lawyers are seeking damages of 80 million euros.

The Costa Concordia remains in the water at the entrance to the island's harbor.  Image courtesy of Giglio News.

Did Costa Cover-Up A Near Concordia-Like Disaster?

A newspaper in Italy is reporting that six and one-half years before the Costa Concordia disaster, another Costa cruise ship ruptured its hull during a "sail-by" maneuver off the coast of Capri.

Libero Quotidiano reports that in June 2005, the Costa Fortuna was sailing by the island of Capri off the western side of Italy.  The Fortuna, owned by Carnival and operated by Costa Crociere (Costa), had 3,500 passengers and crew members aboard.  According to the newspaper, the ship cruised into shallow water during what is called a "sail-by" or "salute" to entertain the quests.  Just like theCosta Fortuna Cruise Ship Sail By Concordia, the Fortuna's hull was ruptured by rocks in the shallow waters and the cruise ship began to take on water.

The Italian newspaper writes that the Master and officers of the Fortuna did not report the incident to the Italian Coast Guard or any maritime or port officials. The officers then ordered the use of pumps at maximum effort to keep the water from sinking the ship. The Fortuna was able to make it to the port of Palermo in Southern Italy. Once back in port, Costa had the hole repaired and then continued the cruise the following morning with all of the passengers.

The only thing reported by Costa was that there had been an abnormal rise in the temperature of an engine. After making this false report, Costa "buried" the incident.  

The incident came to light as part of the investigation into Costa following the 2012 Costa Concordia disaster. One of the photographers who worked in 2005 on Fortuna reported the incident to the Master of Palermo. His story has been verified.  Investigators said that there is "numerous and insurmountable" evidence to support the photographer's account. The incident was a "real critical situation," and it was only favorable weather conditions that avoided a disaster. 

Another Italian newspaper, La Nazione, covered this story and has additional information.  The reference to the 2005 incident is contained in a 700 page report about the Costa Concordia which focused on prior "sail bys."  On page 619 of the report, there is a reference to the Costa Fortuna cruising 300 meters from the coast near Sorrento when it hit a shoal and began to take on water, "just before a greeting to the island of Capri." The impact caused a gash in the hull "deep and ten meters long."  Passengers were disembarked from the ship in dry dock where the ship was repaired during the night by Fincantieri workers and set off on the morning of June 15 2005. The Master, Giuseppe Russo, did not report the incident, and the ship officers falsely stated that while cruising from Naples to Palermo there had been an unexpected rise of temperature.

La Nazione explains that there was never any indication of the incident to the maritime authorities until January 18 2012, when the wave of emotion caused by the sinking of Concordia and of the 32 victims, caused one of two Costa Fortuna photographers, Roberto Cappello, to come forward. 

This story was first reported last year by the U.K. press. The Sun reported that Fortuna ship photographer Cappello was on board the ship when he felt and heard a "loud bang" during the "sail by." The ship then rolled from left to right. Cappello later photographed damage to the cruise ship’s keel and broken propeller blade. However, Costa demanded and confiscated his photographs. Costa later claimed that the ship had "struck a whale."

Does anyone have information about this incident?  Are there any former crew member who worked on the Fortuna with information to share?  Leave a message or discuss the issue on our Facebook page.

April 15 2013 Update:

Costa sent a letter to the newspaper strongly denying the incident and threatening to sue.

According to La Nazione Grosetto, Costa categorically denies that the Fortuna was Involved in a collision in shallow water near Capri on June 13, 2005 which caused a leak in the hull, as reported by a photographer on board the ship. Costa states that after departure from the port of Naples, around 7:00 PM on June 13 2005, the Fortuna experienced only a "minor technical problem" to a propeller shaft which did not compromise safety or navigation. There was a short stop in the dock in Palermo, the next port, and repairs were successfully performed between 14 and 15 June 2005. On June 15 2005, the ship was permitted to leave the dock, with certificates issued by the certifying authority competent, and the cruise ship departed Palermo at 9.00 AM on its cruise itinerary.

Costa Cruises reserves all legal action against those who continue to spread news which is defamatory to the company's image.  

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Hanseaticus

An Awkward Award: Costa Concordia Crew Members Win "Seafarer of the Year"

Lloyd's List, the well respected shipping industry newspaper, issued its "Seafarer of the Year" award today. And to the surprise of many, the recipients were the crew members of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship. 

Lloyd's List explains that the media has painted the Costa crew with a broad brush as lacking competence, training, and experience. They allegedly added to the confusion surrounding the delayed evacuation of the cruise ship after captain Schettino steered the ship into the rocks off of Giglio.

I must admit that I have lumped them all together as well. 

Costa Concordia GiglioBut the initial reports of the four Italian experts investigating the disaster has also been critical of the crew members.  The experts have concluded that some crew members were unaware of the ship's emergency instructions and had difficulty communicating with each other. 

Lloyd's List's stated: "What was largely missed in the media storm that ensued were the genuine examples of bravery and professionalism displayed by members of the crew . . it should not be forgotten that without the skilled response of the majority of the crew, the loss of life could have been far higher."

Yes there were indeed many heroic stories which involved the crew members.  Many crew members lost their lives trying to help the passengers escape the nightmare. 

But the crew of a cruise ship is a team of individuals. Teams should not receive awards when some of the team members fail miserably in performing their professional duties.   

And there is the matter of the many dead passengers. Their surviving families, still grieving, may have a hard time wondering why anyone is receiving awards when the disaster killed their loved ones, some of whom remain trapped in the cold, dark hull in Giglio. 

Giglio at Sunrise - Costa Concordia Lies Asleep

Last night I attended a pre-game party for the Miami Heat - Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game at a friend's house. One of the families was excitedly talking about leaving on Wednesday for a cruise to Italy.  Other families began comparing cruise stories to Italy.  I don't talk "cruise law" during social events.  I just listened.  

There were no discussions about cruise ship fires, groundings or disappearances at the party.  No jokes about "watch out for the rocks." No mention of the Costa Concordia crash.  It was as if the capsizing of the Concordia never happened.

This morning the sun arose over the little Port of Giglio.  There slept the Concordia, peacefully resting on her side. The terrifying screams of panicked Costa passengers have been replaced by the gentle lapping of the Mediterranean waters against Concordia's hull.  

 

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship - Giglio Italy

 

Image credit: Giglio News webcam