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.

Costa FortunaA Norwegian television station is reporting that a woman went overboard today from what is described as an "Italian cruise ship" near Flåm, Norway.  The woman was critically injured.

TV 2 Nyhetene reports that the woman is 40 years of age and she went overboard after a violent episode with another person on the cruise ship. (Her age was subsequently updated to 52 years old). The station does not state whether she is a passenger or a crew member not does it state her nationality (She was later identified as Italian). 

The title of the article is "Kvinne kritisk skadet etter fall fra cruiseskip."  (Woman critically injured after falling from cruise ship).

The woman was quickly rescued after she was in the water for two to three minutes. She was unconscious when taken ashore to the hospital via helicopter

No one has been arrested. Police officers are investigating. 

The incident was brought to my attention by a crew member who identified the ship as the Costa Fortuna.  A person on the TV 2 Facebook page, who said she heard screaming and then a splash,  also says that the ship involved the Costa Fortuna.

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

September 4 2015 Update:  The story finally reaches a U.S. newspaper. Woman wakes from coma to deny she jumped from cruise ship; attempted murder investigation opened.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia by Ed g2s Creative Commons 3.0; below ARNE VEUM /NTB SCANPIX via TV 2 Nyhetene and Bergens & Tidende  

Costa Fortuna

Costa Fortuna

 

After a nineteen month long trial, the three judges presiding over the Costa Concordia trial sentenced Captain Francisco Schettino to sixteen (16) years in jail for manslaughter, causing the disaster and abandoning ship. The sentence was broken down as follows; ten (10) years for multiple counts of manslaughter, five (5) years for causing the shipwreck, and one (1) year for abandoning ship. Schettino was also sentenced to one month for making false communications to maritime authorities after the shipwreck.

During closing arguments, breaking down in tears, Schettino demonstrated little concern for the consequences of his recklessness other than feeling sorry for himself, saying that three years ago "I died along with the 32 others." Schettino’s defense lawyer said: "In these three years, Schettino has suffered the same as a 30-year sentence." His legal counsel argued that he was made a scapegoat by Francesco Schettinothe cruise line Carnival-Corporation-owned Costa Cruises.

The prosecutor described Schettino as an "idiot" and a "coward."

Costa paid a relatively small fine of 1.1 million dollars to avoid a criminal trial.

The prosecution sought 26 years in jail for Schettino. The defense requested a maximum of 5 years. The judges essentially split the difference with 16 years. Schettino is entitled to an automatic appeal of the sentence and is likely not to serve time in jail during the appeal.

The stock of Costa’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, is up today.

You can read our first article about the disaster here: Passengers Panic As Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Begins to Sink.

The question which I keep asking myself is what does the brother and parents of Costa crew member Russel Rebello think of the verdict

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

Photo Credit: Reuters

Today, the body of Costa crew member Russel Rebello was found in the salvaged wreck of the Costa Concordia. His remains were the last to be removed from the ill-fated cruise ship. 

Mr. Rebello was known to his fellow crew members as a warm, friendly and always-smiling young man. He was last seen going back into the sinking ship to rescue passengers.

Rusel RebelloTragedies like the Costa Concordia define a person. When disaster strikes, will the person shirk their responsibilities and run like a coward? Or will they rise to the occasion and help others? 

Maritime lore and tradition say that the captain always goes down with the ship. That’s not exactly true, but the saying reinforces the notion that the captain must be the last person on the ship. He is required by maritime regulations to be aboard the ship in order to supervise the orderly evacuation of all aboard, before he exits.

Francisco Schettino fled the Concordia like a scared rat. He does not deserve even to be called a captain.

When the Concordia hit the rocks and eventually slipped into the sea, it was Mr. Rebello who acted as the true master of the vessel. He put the safety and well being of the guests before himself.  He honored the maritime tradition of a captain staying on the ship and placing himself in harm’s way to help others.

 

Pay your respects below or on our Facebook page.

The criminal trial against Captain Schettino finally started this week but, believe it or not, was suspended due to a national strike of lawyers in Italy.

Captain Schettino showed up for the first day at the theater in Grosseto where the trial will be held. The paparazzi photographed him wearing a snappy blue sports coat. No tie. An open collar shirt. Cool sunglasses. Tan. With his I’ll-say-anything-attitude. This guy is too much. On trial for abandoning ship and manslaughter with 32 dead on his watch and he appears like a playboy vacationing on a yacht in Monaco.

All he needed to complete his image was his blonde former cruise ship dancer Moldovan paramour at his side.   

The Telegraph newspaper reports Captain Schettino’s story changed. His lawyers stated that he really didn’t abandon ship. He was "inadvertently thrown from the ship" is the latest excuse.

From "I-slipped-and-fell-into-a-lifeboat" whopper to "I-was-inadvertently thrown-off-the-cruise-ship" tall tale. Oh boy.

What a soap opera will unfold when the lawyers come back to work from their strike.

Captain Schettino - Costa Concordia Cruise Ship

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

 

Photo Credit: AP / Giacomo Aprili via Telegraph

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.

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ESYr2y-WOeE%3Frel%3D0

Giglio Italy - Costa ConcordiaWith the one year anniversary of the Costa Concordia capsizing this Sunday, there are literally several hundreds new articles on line about the disaster.  

This morning CBS News aired a video (below) and published an article Costa Concordia 1 Year Later: Survivors Attempt to Move On in which several survivors explain how they are dealing with the aftermath of the horrific event.

The cruise line cheerleaders are out in full force with travel writer Jane Archer of the Telegraph newspaper in London answering her own question Is Cruising Safer One Year On? and Carolyn Spencer Brown of the Expedia / TripAdvisor owned Cruise Critic fan site conducting a puff piece interview for CNN International extolling on the virtues of cruising and blaming the series of institutional failures solely on "one rogue captain."  

More critical and honest articles include  I Need a Grave to Cry Over

As the focus is now on the island of Giglio, where the Concordia capsized and remains in view as a daily reminder of the deadly disaster, Costa has done the unthinkable by writing a letter to the victims telling them that they should stay away from the island for "logistical reasons." 

Amazingly insensitive, but this has been how Costa and Carnival have operated from day one. 

As one survivor put it: "Costa has had an inhumane and unacceptable attitude from the start."

The cruise lines would prefer not to have several thousands of people standing with the wrecked cruise ship in the background, telling the world how Costa and Carnival have treated them over the last year. 

 

 

Photo credit: CNN International

A newspaper in Italy has posted a video of the frantic last moments of the evacuation of the stricken Costa Concordia.  

The video obtained by La Repubblica is taken by a bystander from the island of Giglio. The cruise ship has already listed heavily to the starboard side and the water has risen to the deck where passengers and crew members are seen. I first watched the video today on Worldcrunch which describes the video as containing audio of the "panicked voices and the crashing sound of dishes."  

Click on the link here to watch the video. 

Micky Arison Costa ConcordiaThe Week magazine in the U.K. reports that Italian lawyers are filing a criminal complaint against Carnival CEO Micky Arison as well as other American and British directors of Costa’s dual listed parent companies, Carnival Corporation and Carnival PLC. 

The article written by Andrea Vogt, "Costa Concordia: UK Directors to be Named Responsible for Capsize," explains that lawyers for Costa Concordia victims allege that the Carnival directors "not only tolerated but promoted" the ship salute that led to the disaster in order to entertain the passengers and boost profits. 

Ms. Vogt explains that new evidence to be filed in the case alleges that criminal responsibility for the deadly wreck does not stop with Captain Schettino, "but goes all the way to the top."

The criminal complaint will be filed in Grosseto, Italy, by an Italian law firm in Milan.

It names 14 Carnival directors, including Sir John Parker, chairman of Anglo American plc and vice chairman of DP World Limited; Sir Jonathon Band, former First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff; Arnold Donald, president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Counsel; Debra Kelly-Ennis, former president and CEO of Diageo Canada; and Micky Arison, chief executive of Carnival. 

Arison was roundly criticized for trying to distance himself from the Concordia disaster.  He is photographed above standing in front of the Concordia with Costa CEO Foschi.