Why did the Costa Concordia sink?
- On 18 01 2012
Founded in 1924, the company originally operated cargo vessels until the introduction of passenger services in 1947 sailing between Italy and South America. In recent years the Costa Line converted its entire fleet to full time cruising, and as an independent company became one of the largest cruise operators in Europe. It was taken over by the huge American Carnival Group in 2000, Costa Cruises is now one of eleven brands operated by Carnival Corp.
Today, as Costa Cruises Group, the company is one of the main operating companies in the Carnival group, with executive control of the groups activities in Europe. The company is responsible for operation of Costa Cruises in Italy, AIDA Cruises in Germany and Ibero Cruises in Spain.They operate 15 cruise ships, which all sail under the Italian flag and provide cruise holidays in the Mediterranean, Europe, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, South East Asia and South America.
MS Costa Concordia was built at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponete (Genoa) yards in Italy. The name Concordia was intended to express the wish for "continuing harmony, unity, and peace between European nations." She was launched at Sestri Ponente on 2 September 2005 and at the time of her construction was the largest Italian cruise ship ever built. She was delivered to Costa on 30 June 2006.
Vital Statistics: Displacement 5,387 tonnes, Length: 290.2m, Beam: 35.5m, Draught: 8.2m, Decks: 17, Speed: max 23knots, Capacity 3780 passengers, Crew: 1,100.
On 22 November 2008, Costa Concordia suffered damage to her bow when high winds at the Sicilian city of Palermo pushed the ship against the dock. There were no injuries.
Costa Concordia did a weekly cruise in the Western Mediterranean visiting Civitavecchia, Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma, Tunis, and Palermo.On Friday 13 Jan 2012 she left the Italian port of Civitavecchia (just 65km northwest of Rome) heading north on an overnight voyage to her next destination Savona in north western Italy - a voyage of just less than 200 miles - arrival was shceduled for early on Saturday morning. Several hundred passengers had just joined the ship and were getting ready to enjoy their first night at sea. The weather was excellent -calm and mild.
On her weekly cruise the Costa Concordia normally passed between the small island of Giglio and the mainland (sailing closer to the mainland shore) at midway up the west coast of Italy - a channel that is 7.5 miles wide. Just less than 2 hours into the voyage some 30 miles from Civitavecchia the Costa Concordia changed course to head for the island of Giglio.
There is much speculation as to why this change of course away from the normal track midway between the island and the mainland. The most likely cause is that the captain decided to sail closer to the island to salute some friends and to afford the passengers the wonderful view of this beautiful island and its little port. The La Stampa newspaper published a letter from August 2011 in which Porto Giglio's mayor Sergio Ortelli thanked the Concordia's captain for the "incredible spectacle" of a previous close pass.
The ships course continued towards the islet of Scole about .5M south of the entrance to the harbour of Giglio. The ship was travelling at 15.5knots when she hit a rock just metres off Scole. The vessel continued for approximately another .75M until just north of the harbour entrance. The vessel then turned in an attempt to get close to the harbour.(It probably used the anchor to aid a fast tight turn) This turn shifted the centre of gravity to the starboard side of the ship and it listed over to that side initially by about 20°, finally coming to rest at an angle of heel of about 80°. The ship has a 50-metre gash on her port side, with a large rock embedded in the ship's hull.
At 21:31 passengers were in the dining hall when there was a sudden, loud bang, which a crew member (speaking over the intercom) ascribed to an "electrical failure". It was about an hour before a general emergency was announced. Passengers were advised to put on their life-jackets. The list created problems in launching the lifeboats.
The ship was carrying 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew; in the next few days the bodies of 11 people were found. Two South Korean passengers and an Italian crew member were rescued from the ship on 15 January, more than 24 hours after the accident. As of 17 January 2012 around 35 people had not been accounted for.
An investigation was opened into the accident. Dutch salvage experts were called in to assess options for removing the ship, with 2,380 tons of fuel needing to be removed first, in order to prevent or mitigate an oil spill. Dutch company Smit International is responsible for removing the fuel, and offered to perform the salvage operation. Carnival expects the ship to be out of service for the remainder of the cruising season. "Given the extensive damage reported, it appears possible that the ship is a constructive total loss," said Tim Ramskill, analyst at Credit Suisse.
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