Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The ship had started its journey from Civitavecchia port near Rome and was to reach Marseilles on the second day, 3rd day in Barcelona, Palma on the 4th day, 5th day in Cagliari, Palermo on the 6th day and arrive back to port Civitavecchia on the 7th day.
The accident occurred the very first day. The area off the island Giglio, where the Ship met with the accident, is notorious for ship wrecks and many ships have ended their journeys there in disasters as the island's coastal parts are rocky and normally no right minded Captain steers ship close to it.
The Captain of Concordia, Fraancesco Schettino, however brought the ship perilously close to the island allegedly to facilitate better view of island Giglio to the Head waiter, Antonello Tievolli, who lived there and while showing the island the ship hit rocks and ripped it open. But according to the Captain, the ship hit coral reef which was not marked in the official navigation chart and consequently he was not expecting it while handling the ship. Any way it was very close to the land . The ship ought to have been traveled 500 meter off the island whereas it was just 150 meters off when the accident occurred.
The ship had a length of 290 Meters, height of 31 Meters and a width of 35 Meters with 17 Decks It spared no luxury or facility with 1500 guests staterooms, rooms with private balconies numbering 505 and 58 of them luxury suits for V.I.P. guests. There were 7 luxury Restaurants which served dishes available anywhere, 12 Bars, 4 lounges, 3 dance clubs and 4 swimming pools. A big area for children to play, two movie theaters with 4000 seat capacity, four shops selling luxury items, play ground for Golf, Volley Ball etc and on top of everything it had a spa center as big as 6000Sq.Meters. In brief, there were all facilities in the ship which are available in any big city. It cost more than half a Billion for the company to build it.
Although the disaster would remind us of Titanic ship, the Times have changed and the luxury ocean liners are aplenty now. The Cruise industry is a multi billion dollar business in Europe. However the share holders of various ocean liners were jittery about the impact of Costa Concordia tragedy in the market and it sure reflected in the New York stock exchange next day.
The ship contains huge stock of fuel for its use and fortunately it is not leaking to the sea yet. It has to be pumped out first in order to avoid pollution in the sea and there is also a Dolphin Sanctuary near the accident site and a leak of oil can create havoc for them.
And on salvaging the ship, there are two options. One is to Plug the holes, pull it up from the sea and to refloat the ship. The second option is to dismantle it and remove in chunks. The first option is the best one but it is really a daunting task for any experienced company to re float it using huge cranes as the ship is too big for that kind of work. The ship is said to have 45000 tons of steel alone and weighs 114500 tons. The salvage companies are working out plans.
The collision occurred while passengers were having dinner and most of them were unaware of the disaster until the sea water entered the hall in a short time.
As the land was close to the accident point some passengers ventured to swim. There were 3200 passengers and 1000 crew members in the ship. There was some delay in starting rescue operation as the order from the Captain to " Abandon ship " came late which undoubtedly cost lives.
The tragedy reminds the necessity to enforce stricter guidelines and checks for choosing Captains in ocean liners The rule-book captains should be entrusted to handle such big ocean liners.
Coincidentally, the ship's band was said to be playing the opening song of Titanic movie when the ship met with the accident.
ONE YEAR AFTER:
The ship is still there in the sea half submerged in the shallow waters and the rescue workers are working day and night on it. The working near by is made difficult not only by the weather conditions but also by the stench from the putrefied food items kept in the ship, a large part of which remained unused as the disaster occurred in the early days of its journey. Stained by silt and salt water, the ship has lost all its beauty and elegance. It is now a carcass of old Costa Concordia.
The salvage attempt is one of the major ones in recent history. The ship had used 30000 tons of steel for building it and that alone explains the difficulty of the project. The salvaging Company hopes to float the ship by this year end or early. Then the the ship would then be broken down to parts.
The Captain of the ship and some other executives would be punished in the matter. The Captain may get a life imprisonment for man slaughter charges.
The passengers of the ship got together in the tiny island, Giglio on its first anniversary and prayed for the 32 persons killed in the disaster.
Courtsey: Costa concordia