Monday, January 16, 2012

Extraordinary Images and Efforts at Concordia Site

Rescue Divers inside Costa Concordia         Credit Sky News
Spill Guards in Place Giglio, Italy                  Credit Sky News
Haunting Images from Site of Costa Concordia Catastrophe

We continue our coverage of this extraordinary event by bringing you a selection of images that are equally extraordinary.  

On Friday, 13 January 2012,  over 4,000 passengers and crew set sail from Civitavechia, Italy, on a Mediterranean voyage which would take their ship past the small village of Giglio.  The captain of their vessel decided to salute the town and some of its inhabitants, that had a tie to the cruise line, and sail close by to shore.   There was a rocky coast line, but since they were marked on his charts, he felt that they could safely be avoided.

He wasn't the first captain to do a sail-by like this, but unfortunately, human error or perhaps equipment failure turned a seemingly innocent maneuver into a tragic event. 

MAIN BLOG POST (Updated several times since the accident)

Fighting Against Time and the Elements

Since late Friday night, a monumental rescue and recovery effort has been underway just offshore Giglio. Fortunately, the majority of the passengers and crew were safely evacuated, however as of this writing, 6 people have perished and 29 are unaccounted for.   As the hours progress, the chances of finding them alive diminishes. 

For the first day or so, the weather cooperated with the rescue workers and they were able to work non-stop, even in darkness.  Monday, that all changed as the seas picked up and a light drizzle fell.  All work had to stop when the ship shifted slightly.   The rescue efforts have resumed again, but now there is another concern.   A liquid leaked from the ship causing alarm that this could also turn into an environmental disaster.   Barriers are in place to contain any spill that may occur.

There remains 500,000 gallons of fuel onboard the vessel in 17 tanks according to Costa Cruises.  The mayor of Giglio and environmentalists anxiously await the removal of the fuel.   A salvage company has been employed by Costa Cruises to begin the fuel recovery once rescue efforts have been completed.  If the fuel were to be removed during the rescue efforts, the ship could slip again, increasing the danger of the operation.

Many Unanswered Questions

Why was the ship so close to shore?   Was it human error or faulty maps or equipment?   Why was the evacuation delayed?  Why did the captain leave the ship while evacuation was ongoing?  Was the crew adequately trained?  Were procedures ignored or do they need to be improved?

The "black boxes" have revealed some interesting facts already, making many wonder why the captain took various actions he did on that fateful night.   The investigation will provide answers.  Undoubtedly those in the wrong will be held accountable.  The industry will learn from these events and take corrective action, just as it did almost 100 years ago when the Titanic hit a very similarly shaped submerged object.

Please keep everyone impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.  While the ship will ultimately be repaired, some lives will never be the same.   Our hope is that out of tragedy good will emerge.

No comments: