(Near) - Giglio Island, Italy - The tragedy that occurred last Friday around 10pm local time, is still ongoing (recovery) and 11 have been confirmed dead and a couple of dozen are still reported missing, on the Costa Concordia Cruise ship.
There is still hope some survivors will be found, out of the over 4200 passengers on one of the largest cruise ships in the world. To get an idea of the size, it is over four football fields long and towers 15-20 storeys above the water line. The ship is almost completely on it's side now, and there are serious environmental concerns as there are over 500,000 gallons of fuel in 17 tanks, still on the ship. The Italian government has already set up booms around the ship in case any oil does leak from the Concordia.
The Concordia had just filled their tanks before they set sail, prior to the horrific accident. The ship was built for $450 million, in 2006 when it was launched, and even the launching was shrouded with bad luck, as the ceremonial champagne bottle, did not break when it was thrown at the ship.
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Salvage crews are waiting in the wings and prepared to recover the fuel from the grounded cruise ship and what will be done once the fuel is removed? It's still unclear whether they will use balloons to upright the ship but there are concerns when the fuel is removed, it could float away. Or are they going to cut it up into pieces and cart it away, these are very real concerns since the whole ship is still a crime scene. It could take weeks, if not months to remove from the coastline of Italy, and only time will tell what will happen.
Costa Concordia CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said yesterday, "An episode like this which was caused by human factors can not and must not destroy what we've all done collectively, our ships are as safe today as they were on Friday, what happened has nothing to do with maritime safety, it has nothing to do with our policies and procedures or our technology, training, and the quality of our staff."
I think the public will have to determine that for themselves, but not going on cruises, but that is unlikely. I always wondered, when you go on a cruise, do they ask if you can swim? In most cases the ships are far from shore, but in the accident it would have made a big difference, because it was very close to shore.
Captain Francesco Schettino was in court yesterday and has been placed on house arrest, and I doubt if he will be Captain of any kind of ship in the near future and he could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted of manslaughter and abandoning his ship. The New York Post has dubbed him "Chicken at Sea" (and they don't mean Tuna) for not staying on the ship while passengers were being rescued.
Carnival Cruise Lines is the parent company of Costa Cruise Lines so no matter what ship you travel on dangers could exist, are you willing to take the 'PLUNGE?'