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.

  • Gary

    The cruise industry needs to stop playing games with the lives of passenger’s. They (passengers) are the revenue stream. The industry is “strictly liable” for the safety of the passenger’s, when they are, onboard a company owned asset.

    Non responses, does not make “any” problem disappear. Fire at sea is not an issue, it is a serious problem that must be dealt with head on. Compliance and safety laws must be taken seriously and followed!

  • Sally Shabaker

    No, they haven’t, but I have. I’ll never go near a Costa ship.

  • Bella

    Having worked at sea for many years, I can tell you that fires occur on board more often than you may be aware and are extinguished quickly.

    When crew are responding to an emergency, they have different responsibilities and like all human beings, not everyone will respond perfectly when under stress. However, you can be sure that almost all crew will respond accordingly.

    There are also different levels of response to an emergency and the crew allert is called before the passengers. The call to a fire may require only a portion of the crew and it is possible that information may not be available to all crew because all crew have yet to be called to duty. If the all crew allert was called, this still means that passengers are not yet called to take any action. Often when guests hear an alarm and see responding crew to block stairways etc to contain smoke etc, they may also panic. The best thing to do is to follow the instructions given via the announcements and stay put. A fire in the engine room does not mean abandon ship although it is undertandable that people on board will be concerned and afraid.

    Given that myself and others who work at sea have been in emergency situations onboard, although the costa concordia was an outright disaster, the fire fighting teams and the engineers onboard are very well trained and risk their lives in these situations in order to maintain the safety of all onboard.

  • Tim Dye

    Appearantly NOT!

  • George

    it was a small fire quickly handle by crew ( FIRE TEAM)

    all the crew is perfectly trained to handle emergencies

    The main important things are that nobody get injured or killed

    Ship can be rebuild a human life NO

  • Charlie

    It is true that every crew on board has its own duty in case of emergency . I’ve experienced that when I was on board in Costa Concordia on the night of 13th Jan. 2012.i was a crew there and my position or Manning on board incase of emergency is bousing gear.the only thing that a passenger or crew must prepare in case of emergency is not to panic and focus.

  • Davy

    I use to work in costa and it is not surprise that things happens over his company the Italian style of conducting things is just terrible, if there is a problem on board the Italians Who are in charge they just hide it or ignore it, if it demands work to do. They simply do not care and not because Italians are irresponsible because that would be something wrong to say it is just because the little mafia that the big names on the corporation have makes them hire and promote the most non quialify people for the jobs that are on high care of the crew, passenger and ship, Thai people can’t be removed and won’t be removed because their corporate in genoa it is one of the same and they simply put in charge a simple clown, because was a friend or a god son or friend of a friend or son of some one that use to work in the company with out the proper evaluation of this persons is qualify or not.

  • Domnic

    Being an ex.employee of costa,(deck department)
    I know how the system works. They will never learn how to handle emergencies.