Costa Concordia Calamity Just the Latest Disaster for Cruise Industry

Cruise Ship Disasters - MSC Poesia Following the spectacle of the Costa Concordia disaster, the cruise industry is starting its campaign to convince the public that cruising is safe notwithstanding the terrifying and grotesque images of the stricken ship.

Pro-cruise trade organizations line the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA") will claim that incidents like this are "rare" and will characterize the Costa Concordia as a "freak" accident.  But in truth this incident is just the latest cruise disaster in a long line of disasters.

One week ago, Italian cruise liner the MSC Poesia ran aground into a reef in the Bahamas while sailing to Port Lucaya near Freeport, Bahamas.  You can read about that incident here - MSC Poesia Destroys Reef in the Bahamas - Cruise Ship with 26' Draft Sailed Into 15' Waters

The 93,000-ton cruise ship needs twenty-five feet of draft but sailed into only fifteen (15) feet of water. Fortunately for the cruise ship (and unfortunately for the priceless and irreplaceable reef), the vessel ground the fragile reef into bits.  MSC was not able to get off the reef until high tide. But the incident did not stop the cruise ship from tendering cruise passengers to Port Lucaya to enjoy themselves at the beach.  Once high tide freed the ship, the Poesia sailed off as if nothing Cruise Ship Disaster  - Costs Europahappened.  Few people in the media reported on this near disaster. 

It takes deaths and destruction  to focus the media on problems in the cruise industry. 

There have been two serious collisions of Costa cruise ships in the last two years.

In February 2010, the Costa Europa cruise ship collided with a pier in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.  The allision ripped a hole in the hull of the ship and flooded a crew cabin, resulting in the death of three crew members and injury to four passengers.  Photographs of the Costa Europa show the vessel listing heavily on its port side, in order to keep water pouring into the large opening on the starboard side.  You can read about that incident here  - Costa Europa Collides With Pier in Egypt - Three Crew Dead, Passengers Injured

In October 2010, the Costa Classica cruise ship collided with a cargo vessel, the Belgian registered bulk carrier Lowlands Longevity, at the mouth of the Yangtze River.  The ship suffered a long gash over 60 feet long in its side and several passengers were injured.  You can read about that Costa cruise ship crash here: New Photographs Reveal Extent of Damage to Costa Classica

In addition to these collisions, an engine room fire broke out onboard the Costa Romantica near Uruguay in February 2009.  A year earlier, in may 2008, there was a dangerous near-collision between the Costa Atlantica and a cargo ship, the Grand Neptune, where the captain of the Costa cruise ship was heavily criticized.  You can read the UK Marine accident report here. (There is speculation that Captain Schettino was at the vessel's captain at the time.)

Cruise Ship Disaster - Costs ClassicaThe parent company of Costa is Carnival cruise line which has had more than its fair share of disasters.

The U.S. Coast Guard blasted Carnival for its negligence following the November 2010 fire aboard the Carnival Splendor cruise ship when the cruise line's fire suppression system malfunctioned.  The Splendor was a relatively new cruise ship manufactured in Italy.  The fire caused the failure of all of the generators on the cruise ship which stranded over 3,500 passengers on the high seas off the coast of Mexico.  "Coast Guard Blasts Carnival Splendor for Fire Negligence"

The U.S. Navy sent an aircraft carrier to the scene and the U.S. Coast Guard had to tow the stricken cruise ship back to the U.S., at the U.S. tax payer's expense.

Plus consider the following serious events:

Fires Breaks Out On Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship - December 2011.

Star Princess Cruise Ship Fire - 2006Over 1200 Passengers Rescued from Burning Ferry in the Red Sea, One Dead & Many Injured - November 2011

Fire & Rough Weather Mar Queen Mary 2 Cruise - October 2011

Cruise Ship Fire in Norway Kills Two - September 2011

Explosion Rocks Port in Gibraltar - Independence of the Seas Avoids Damage - May 2011 

First Mexican Cruise Ship Catches on Fire - April 2011

Engine Room Fire Aboard MSC Cruises' Musica Cruise Ship - December 2010

Over 200 Passengers Rescued From Burning Ferry in Baltic Sea - October 2010

Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion - September 2010

Fire Breaks Out On Cruise Ship In Norway - May 2010

Sun Vista Cruise Ship FireAll of this occurred in the last two years!  In May of 2010, I chronicled the series of serious cruise disasters back over the last decade - Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?  If you are going to read one story on this blog, it is this one - the dangerous history of cruise ship fires dating from the Princess Cruises Star Princess fire in 2006 to the fire and sinking of the Sun Vista earlier in the1990's.

So as you digest the disturbing story of the renegade captain working for a cruise line with numerous recent casualties and the photos of the luxury liner on its side, don't let the cruise industry fool you into believing that this is an isolated accident.   

 

Don't miss watching: Top Five Worst Cruise Ship Disaster Videos (to be updated)

On a lighter note:  Tina Fey's Honeymoon Ruined By Cruise Ship Fire?

 

Photo credits:

MSC Poesia - shipwrecklog

Costa Europa cruise ship - AP (Hussien Talal) via Mail Online

Costa Classica - EPA via Mail Online  

Passengers Panic As Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Begins to Sink

Costa Concordia Sinking - Evacuation Cruise ShipCosta Cruise Lines' Costa Concordia cruise ship has evacuated most of its passengers after a disastrous situation this evening near the island of Giglio in southern Tuscany, Italy. 

Media reports suggest that the cruise ship ran aground or struck a reef after departing from its regular course.   

The grounding ruptured the hull and water entered the vessel, leading to the forced evacuation of many of the 4,231 passengers and crew from the stricken cruise ship into lifeboats.  There are reports that passengers jumped into the water during the chaotic circumstances following the grounding. 

The official statements from the cruise line are factually vague.  There is no explanation regarding the cause of the grounding.  The cruise line proclaims that the passengers are "not at risk," but this is probably the usual misleading and false cruise propaganda.  Some media sources are reporting that there are passengers who are dead.  Media sources are reporting around 3  passegers died and up to 50 are missing. 

The Italian cruise ship carrying 3,200 passengers and approximately one thousand crewmembers.  The Costa Concordia had departed for a Mediterranean cruise includio ports in Civitavecchia, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, ​​Marseille and Savona.

News sources are quoting a passenger describing the mishap similar to the Titanic disaster, "with a scramble among the evacuees, screaming and crying."

January 14, 2012 Update:

Costa issued a statement that the cruise ship struck a "rock."   Other news sources are reporting that the captain was arrested for manslaugter and abandoning the ship.  

Canadian television CTV has an article about the grounding and cruise safety issues - Crime, Fires Compromise Cruise Ship Safety: Experts -  which you can read here.

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Sinking

Do you have accurate information regarding this disaster?  Do you have photo or video to share? 

 Please leave a comment below.

 

MSC Poesia Destroys Reef in the Bahamas - Cruise Ship with 26' Draft Sailed Into 15' Waters

The MSC Poesia cruise ship ran aground into a reef in the Bahamas this weekend while sailing to  Port Lucaya near Freeport, Bahamas.

The 93,000-ton cruise ship needs twenty-five feet of draft but sailed into only fifteen (15) feet of water.  The video below show that the vessel ground into and destroyed a substantial length of the fragile reef.

Several tugs were called to prevent the cruise ship from further grinding into the reef as the wind tried to push the vessel into more shallow water. 

MSC was not able to get off the reef until high tide.  According to Cruise Radio where I first learned of the grounding, the incident did not stop the cruise ship from tendering cruise passengers to Port Lucaya.  Ed Owen who writes for the Examiner also was one of the first to report on this incident.

Were you on the Poesia when it ran aground?  Do you have photos, video or comments to share? 

 

 

Video credit:   YouTube (Fredgbscuba) 

Another Near Disaster in Antarctica: Polar Star Runs Aground

Polar Star Runs Aground - AntarcticaMultiple news sources are reporting that another small cruise ship to Antarctica has run aground. 

This time it was the Polar Star which was carrying 115 passengers and crew when it ran aground in the Matha Strait, on its way back to Argentina.  Rescue workers based at the Chilean port of Punto Arenas were evacuating the ship, which left the port of Ushuaia (in southern Argentine) last week with 80 passengers and 35 crew members. 

The passengers reportedly included 32 Americans, 9 Canadians, 14 Britons and 8 Australians.

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) released a statement indicating that the cruise ship suffered a hole in the outer hull, with the inner hull intact.

There have been a number of mishaps on cruises to and from Antarctica recently, with several groundings and one horrifying trip with extreme weather: 

The Clelia II - Another Antarctic Cruise Ship Skirts Disaster 

The Clelia II Skirts Disaster Again in Antarctica

Who's Responsible When a Cruise Ship Sinks in Antarctica?

Clipper Adventurer Cruise Ship Runs Aground in the Arctic

Canada's National Post reports that a cruise ship has run aground in the Arctic. 

Clipper AdventurerThe newspaper reports that the Clipper Adventurer, operated by Adventure Canada and carrying around  200 passengers and crew, ran aground Friday evening  in "three meters of water." The location of the grounding is about 55 nautical miles from Coppermine, Nunavut, near the border with the Northwest Territories

But the cruise operator claims that the cruise ship ran aground on an "uncharted rock."  

Sounds like a PR statement to explain some bad navigational skills by whomever was at the helm.

Evacuation efforts are underway.  A Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker is en route to the scene to transport passengers to Coppermine where the ship was headed.  The cruise began in Greenland.

The newspaper indicates that there were no reports of injuries or environmental damage.  This again is probably a report from the cruise ship operators.  It will be interesting to hear what the passengers say happened when they get home.   

This is the second time in recent months that an incident like this occurred.  Earlier this year, we reported on an incident where the Clelia II ran into rocks in Antarctica - The Clelia II - Another Antarctic Cruise Ship Skirts Disaster

In 2009, the Ocean Nova cruise ship, ran aground. To see some amazing photographs of a similar cruise ship grounded, look at the Komar.org website.  Ironically, the Clipper Adventurer came to Clipper Adventurer Cruise Ship Ran Aground the rescue of the passengers aboard the Ocean Nova.    

Cruise Junkie has a list of cruise ship groundings on its web site.

The tour operator's PR statement is below:

"MV Clipper Adventurer, en-route from Port Epworth to Kugluktuk NU, was grounded on an uncharted rock at 67 58 N 1112 40 W. At the time the seas were calm, sunny conditions and good visibility with no wind or swell.

Efforts of the vessel's crew to dislodge the vessel during high tide on August 28th were unsuccessful.

The vessel now rests with a slight list. Conditions are stabilized. All passengers and crew are safe and unharmed. Weather remains favourable as passengers continue to enjoy onboard programming and hospitality.

Canadian authorities have been notified and the Canadian Coast Guard Vessel Amundsen is en-route set to arrive 0900 August 29th to assist with disembarking passengers.

Flight arrangements have been made to ensure passengers return to Edmonton for the evening of August 29th."

Clipper Adventurer RescueUpdate August 29, 2010:

The Canadian Coast Guard has released a photograph of the grounded cruise ship (above right).   

The Edmonton Sun interviewed the owner of the tour company who was quoted saying: "we were simply following the chart that we had and right where there wasn’t any indication that there was something in the water, there was this large rock.”  

Hmmm . . .

The newspaper also reports that the company will fly the passengers home, but they won’t be receiving any type of refunds.  

Update August 30, 2010:

The  Nunatsiaq Online reports that more than 120 passengers and crew, taken off the Clipper Adventurer cruise ship by the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the Amundsen, arrived in Kugluktuk after midnight on August 30th.  Photograph of rescued passenger is above left. 

September 4, 2010 Update:

It turns out that the hazard was charted 3 years ago!  Read "Uncharted Rocks" and Other Tall Tales - Clipper Adventurer Ran Into A Charted Hazard

 

Do you have information or photos/video about this latest incident?  Please leave us a comment below.

PhotoCredit:       

Top:    cruzeirospdl.blogspot

Middle:  Canadian Coast Guard (via CNN)

Bottom:  Jason Evans/Angut Pedersen (via Nunatsiaq Online)