Update on Concordia Accident

Rescuers and recovery divers continue to search the partially capsized Costa Concordia which ran aground in near the island of Giglio, Italy on Friday Nov 13, 2012.

The divers and firemen have rescued three people who remained stranded on the ship. Firemen found a South Korean couple, who were on their honeymoon, when they heard cries from their state room. The couple had been trapped in their cabin, but were in good health. The rescuers also found the cabin service director who had been stranded with a broken leg.

Unfortunately, divers also found the bodies of two elderly men in the flooded area of the ship, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 5. Approximately 15 people remain missing, 9 passengers and 6 crew members.

Questions remain as to the cause of the accident in such well charted waters. The captain may face very serious charges, including man slaughter. Investigators are trying to determine if the accident resulted from a technical failure, human error, or a combination of both .

Regardless of the cause, the passengers and crew had not yet participated in a life boat, or muster drill for this voyage. On all of my cruises, passengers have usually participated in the life boat drill on the first day of embarkation, usually before the ship even leaves the port of embarkation. However, on one of my cruises back in the 70’s the muster drill took place on the first morning of the cruise. The lack of a drill, combined with the listing of the vessel led to a chaotic scene during the evacuation. The following news report highlights the chaos.

This incident certainly highlights the importance of muster drill participation and the effectiveness of the crew in safely and quickly evacuating a distressed cruise ship.