Costa Magica Fire: Did Costa Cruises Learn Anything from the Costa Concordia?

Costa Magica FireLast Friday night, around 1:30 A.M., a fire broke out in the engine room of the Costa Magica.

A passenger brought the event to my attention, indicating that there were several conflicting announcements from the cruise ship's captain regarding where the fire broke out. The passenger indicated that the fire lasted over an hour.  

Shortly after I published an article about the fire, a reader brought to my attention that Costa had been asked on Facebook whether a fire broke out on the ship. Costa dodged the question.

We asked Costa and parent company Carnival Corporation for an explanation. We heard nothing from Costa, or from Carnival, but we did receive a comment on our Facebook page from an engineer inspector for Carnival in Genoa, Italy. He falsely claimed that there was "no fire" on the Costa ship.   

Costa finally responded to the inquiry on Facebook, belatedly claiming that the fire was allegedly "small" and "quickly extinguished" and, claiming further, that the safety of the passengers was never in question. It did not mention the cause of the fire or how long the fire crew had to battle the fire before extinguishing it.

Today, we received a message from a passenger who was on the Magica at the time of the fire, saying (translated):

"I am French and I confirm the fire on board because I was there as a passenger.

We suffered a fire on board (engine room) on Thursday 23/2 causing an alert in the middle of the night at sea. The crew on the launches were disorganized, stressed and did not answer the questions of the worried passengers . . . Like many passengers, we experienced this somewhat traumatic experience and the lack of subsequent communication was not reassuring.

Imagine: messages in Italian indicating throughout the boat and cabins that there is an alert in the middle of the night. You go out into the corridors and there everyone runs in all directions. You are asking questions to staff who already have their yellow lifejackets and they reply:

  • nothing and continue to run
  • getting back to your cabin is all right!

On deck 3 facing the rescue boats you observe the stressed faces of the crew and on the lookout for any information from the commander. After an hour the latter informs them that the situation is mastered . . . 

Costa Concordia LiesWhat is damaging is that in case of real alert, it is a little everyone for himself and the panic settles and is not at all controlled during and after the alert by COSTA.

I queried by mail COSTA on my return and to date no reply!"     

This account sounds like Costa's response to the Costa Concordia disaster, when the ship's officers delayed notifying Costa's home office in Genoa, after the ship hit the rocks, and lied to the passengers onboard the ship about what was happening. When the ship was beginning to sink, many officers and managers misled the passengers and told them that "the situation is under control. Go back to your cabins . . ."

Thirty-two passengers and crew members died as a result of Costa's negligence and lies.

That was over five years ago.  Has Costa learned anything since then?  

Have a comment?   Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

I suggest reading: Russel Rebello - The True Captain of the Costa Concordia.

"The Situation Is Under Control, Go Back To Your Cabin" and Other Lies From The Costa Concordia Disaster

When I first learned of the unfolding Costa Concordia cruise disaster ten days ago, I remember reading a statement attributed to the cruise line stating that the evacuation was proceeding "orderly" and the passengers were "not at risk."  

Initially there were no reports of deaths or injuries, but I knew that something was terribly wrong.  Elderly passengers are always at risk while transferring from a cruise ship to a lifeboat, even to a tender to shore on a perfectly calm day.  How possibly could there be no risk to passengers during during an emergency evacuation at night under these dire circumstances?

We now know that this was just one of many lies to be told by Costa and its captain.

What other statements will long be remembered from the Costa disaster?

"I slipped and fell into the lifeboat" by Captain Fransesco Schettino.

This is perhaps the biggest whopper I have ever heard in my life.   It takes great acting skills to deliver such a ridiculous explanation for abandoning a ship you just sank.  Being a liar does not erase being a coward.   If Schettino really slipped and fell, I offered on Twitter to represent him in a lawsuit against Costa (a bad joke on Twitter I suppose in a time of great sorrow).  But If I were his lawyer, I would file for a trademark on the "slipped-and-fell-onto-the-life-boat" phrase for its sheer comedic genius.               

What other cruise lies will long be remembered?

"The Situation Is Under Control, Go Back To Your Cabin" says a Costa supervisor to panicked passenger who assembled on deck with their life vests ready to be evacuated.  How many of the passengers were deceived by this false information?  The most compliant personalities were probably the first to follow these instructions, whereas the cynics didn't.  Did the deferential passengers die in the bowels of the ship? 

In an every-man-for-himself situation do the gentle souls die first?

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship - "Everything is Under Control"

 

Photo credit:  Reuters

Caption credit:  Costa Cruise Line 

Cruise Industry Exaggerates Effect of $50 Alaska Tax and Hides Financial Information

The so-called "Alaska Cruise Association" (more properly called the Miami Cruise Association) has been caught exaggerating the effects of Alaska's $50 per person "head tax." 

The Juneau Empire reports in an article by Pat Forgey entitled "Attack On A Tax" that the cruise industry is misleading the public.  Cruise lines claim that cruise prices have dropped as low as $300, and the $50 tax is driving passengers away from cruising to Alaska.

The newspaper reports that cruise passengers actually pay around $2,000 a cruise. Also, most passengers believe that a $50 tax is negligible and has no have an effect on their decision to book a cruise.

The most revealing and disturbing part of the article is that cruise industry spokesman, John Binkley, considers financial information regarding cruises to Alaska to be "proprietary and confidential."  The cruise industry keeps the information secret notwithstanding the fact that both Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which carry 80 percent of the cruise ship passengers to Alaska, are publicly traded companies which are required to report financial data to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is business as usual for the cruise industry.  Its credibility for facts is historically dubious. Cruise lines are the least transparent industry by far.  As I have reported in previous articles, the non-tax paying and polluting cruise industry's real motivation to to punish Alaska for its strict pollution regulations

Another newspaper in Alaska reported on the cruise industry's big lies. The Alaska Daily News calls the $300 cruise ticket a "myth" perpetuated by the cruise industry.  The two comments to the story sum up the truth about the cruise industry's attack on Alaska:

  • "Multi-national cruise ship hirelings in Alaska beat this big lie about the $50 head tax and its impact on passenger decisions to death and lost all credibility as a result . . .  Alaska's regulations are a model for other places and this scares the industry."
  • "No surprise here, other than the cruise industry got caught telling tall tales."

 

 

Photo credit:

Polluting cruise ship     www.ecollo.com