The Times Union newspaper has an interesting article today, about a family who survived the Costa Concordia disaster, entitled "Survivors Shun Ships After Duel with Death." Written by Cathleen Crowley, the article explains that a family from Duanesburg, New York previously enjoyed cruising having vacationed on a dozen prior cruises. But on January 13 2012, their cruise aboard the Concordia quickly turned into a near death experience.
The story involves Joan Fleser, her husband Brian Aho, and their daughter, Alana, The family feels fortunate to have survived the ordeal which took the lives of 32 passengers and crew members, but "the chaos on the ship and the memory of the massive cruise liner leaning toward their tiny lifeboat still invades the family’s thoughts daily."
Earlier this year, Joan and Brian attended Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. which were convened to study issues on cruise safety following the Concordia debacle. Joan told the Times Union: "It was very interesting and very upsetting seeing that the House Committee was stacked with representatives from cruise states and they were so pro-cruise industry." This is the same conclusion I reached when I attended the hearing.
I took a photo of the family at the hearing (together with Mississippi lawyer, John Eaves Jr.)
The family itemized a number of well-reasoned proposed safety improvements which you can read in the article here.
The article also quotes Captain Bill Doherty who is director of maritime affairs for Nexus Consulting Group, a maritime consulting and security firm based in Virginia. Captain Doherty is a former naval officer and was the safety manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines. He is critical of the cruise lines inspection systems and lack of enforcement of existing safety rules.
Captain Doherty points out that the U.S. Coast Guard and government enforcement bodies in other nations outsource inspection duties to third parties, many of which are society groups funded by the cruise ship owners.