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Costa Concordia sinks off the coast of Italy

Discussion in 'YachtForums Yacht Club' started by Fishtigua, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    A tale of two Captains: LINK

    It looks like this may the person with whom the previously quoted exchanges took place.
  2. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    one thought though .......it has been said that this ship and others like it , alter their point to point courses to ''sell the boat''....a procedure that has the company's blessing......this matter ,if true, has not been brought up yet even though past tracks of their vessels are available....:confused: :confused: :confused:
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  3. Garry Hartshorn

    Garry Hartshorn Senior Member

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    I received this in a newsletter that I subscribe to and thought it would be good to share.

    - By Captain William H. Doherty, ******** Contributor

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was a Mississippi Riverboat Pilot. One day a woman passenger tried to flatter him saying, ”My goodness Captain, you must know where every hazard on this River lies!”

    Captain Clemens replied: “No Madam that would be impossible, I just know where the good water is and keep her there.”

    Ships run aground because someone made a terrible mistake or was negligent. A Master has a responsibility to navigate in a safe and prudent manner taking into account all circumstances including, but not limited to, the existing conditions and the limitations of the vessel involved. Prudence dictates that the Master allows an “exit strategy” of all possible contingencies including grounding, collision, fire, serious illness, and a multitude of unforeseen circumstances. Maritime Safety and prudence starts with competence; arrived with a combination of training, certification, and constant drilling and maintenance of operational and safety equipment.

    In life however, we are judged, more on how we react to adversity, than the incident itself. The obvious lack of planning, training, drilling, and preparing for the subsequent events this grounding mishap created is appalling and disgraceful.

    Abandoning those left in your professional care clearly demonstrates the lack of moral fiber of the Master and all those other officers and crew who abandoned, not only their passengers, but their fellow shipmates, and those “professional” mariners who did, in fact, remain at their station waiting for leadership and guidance that was never given from those spineless cowards who deserted their responsibilities and dignity.

    The fact that the passengers were never mustered and briefed in Emergency Stations, Evacuation, or any other prerequisite safety information is not only imprudent, but illegal.

    I have commanded ships of all types for over thirty years, have served ashore in management as Port Captain for major oil companies, taught navigation at America’s finest Maritime Academy, and have served as Safety Manager for one of the largest Cruise lines in the world.

    Cruise ships, as well as all vessels plying the Navigable waters of the world are subject to strict Maritime Rules and regulations including, but not limited to, Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, Standards of Training Certification and Watch keeping (STCW), The International Safety Management (ISM) rules, and most importantly, the Rule of the Sea whereby the Master and officers and crew never abandon the ship until all passengers and crew are accounted for, and everything possible has been done to save them.

    There seems to be a clear indication of negligence and perhaps even incompetence. I agree, we have to wait till all the facts are in, but that boulder stuck in the side of the ship and the fact that the Master abandoned his ship and his duties prior to accounting for all souls aboard speak for itself.

    What bothers me most today is the fact that three days after the tragic grounding, there still does not appear to any concentrated effort to safe those who may still be trapped below decks on this overturned, but not yet sunken, ship.

    One and a half years ago thirty three Chilean miners became trapped miles below ground in what seemed to be an impossibly hopeless situation. Instead, as the world watched, a quiet nation at the Southern tip of the Earth mobilized from their President, Mine officials, engineers, and construction workers. Together with the just about the entire Chilean population, they created a miracle.

    The whole world watched and prayed as little glimmers of hope and tireless work on the part of the people of Chile grew into that miracle. There wasn’t a dry eye in the world, as each miner came up that elevator to safety, a full SIXTY-NINE DAYS after that accident.

    Last Friday night, an Italian-flagged passenger ship, driven by an Italian Captain, went aground off an Italian Island. The Captain’s actions caused the grounding, his subsequent lack of competence, leadership, and most of all, Courage, led to at least eleven “known” dead and a score still missing or unaccounted for.

    Granted, I see a couple of salvage teams diving, as the magnificent vessel slides closer and closer to sinking, but I see no national mobilization of forces and resources to try to save those remaining souls who could be trapped in the hundreds of pockets throughout the ship. Watching news today they reported that the Italian authorities have given up hope for finding any more survivors on the Costa Concordia because it has “shifted” a few inches and may sink. They also reported that there are still “two-dozen” persons missing and believed trapped inside. It has only been three days and the ship is lying on its side and is less than 150 feet wide at her maximum beam.

    Last year the Chileans drilled over a mile into the rock and extricated thirty three miners trapped for 69 days! It appears that the Italian Captain isn’t the only guy running away from lives in peril on the sea. Just a comparison as to how some nations react to tragedy. Some turn it into victories; others just sit around and wait for time to complete the tragedy. Were any Italians killed or missing in this disaster?

    What bothers me most about this whole disaster is of course the loss of life and injuries. I am also concerned about the negative perception this reckless endangerment gives to a profession I have been proud to have been and still am a part of. This is my 49th year in the Maritime industry. I am proud of my occupation and of those I have had the pleasure to have sailed with. Many of them have “Crossed the Final Bar,” but many more, including my two sons have followed in this honored profession.

    Most ships are operated safely by proud and professional Mariners who understand the dangers of going to sea and recognize that through training, experience and a positive attitude towards Safety at Sea, many of these disasters just don’t happen. As Master and Safety Manager, I always instilled in my crews that the accident that didn’t happen was the best type of incident.

    I also reminded them that it was human nature to instinctively wish you didn’t have to be involved when emergencies arise. I taught them that through training, drill, and teamwork, that when that “Flight or Fight” instinct arrived, that turning around, with the confidence that we have been drilled and trained to handle this situation, we can all survive better if we resolve our problems, not run away from them.

    This whole Concordia disaster reminds me of my colorful English Literature Professor at Mass Maritime Academy; back in 1963, Poopsie Collins who made us read Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim”. Think he helped shape our moral backbone.

    A lot of similarities between SS Patna in Conrad’s novel and the true life story if MV Concordia. Master left passengers to die, but the ship floats. While dead men tell no tales, “Survivors” certainly do.

    God help you Captain Schettino; but please God, help the people trapped below the Costa Concordia first.

    Captain Doherty is a 1967 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a licensed US Coast Guard Master-Unlimited tonnage, and qualified First Class Pilot, Prince William Sound, Valdez, Alaska.

    Captain Doherty has served on numerous US Navy warships and was the Head of Maritime Affairs for the Chief of Naval Operations during Operations Desert Storm. Over the course of his career, he has commanded tankers, containerships, research vessels, high speed ferries, and was an instructor at his alma mater.

    Before retirement, his latest position was as Safety Manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines.
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    He sold the vessel alright, to the insurance company!
  5. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    This statement and what we heard from passengers, that the boat was leaning to port just before it hit the rock aft of midship port side, is confirming what I posted earlier. I have now added the Captains intended route in white dots.

    (He might also have hit another, underwater, rock than what is reported, which is located about 150 m SSW of the Le Scole east rock.)

    From the last three AIS plots, it was initially said the captain tried to reach back to the port as I have indicated, but observations say the boat was making a right turn into the wind, and then just drifted back to the shore.

    Attached Files:

  7. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    Thanks for this Lars.

    Do you (or anyone else) have a chart showing the soundings for this area, that can be posted here?
  8. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    I have a chart that can not be posted here, but it says between 60 and 100 meters of water at my white dotted line, about 300 m from the coast. It also says that the larger rock they were approaching is 9 m above the water, so it should have shown on the radar.
  9. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    Thanks again - that makes sense without a chart.

    And of course, we assume that no one was looking at the radar, because the Captain 'had the ship' and was navigating "by sight"!

    They must surely now add criminal negligence to the list of charges?
  10. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    This proves that few here on YF read posts with any due care or real attention as to their substance. I wrote (obviously incorrectly - high-lighted in bold italics here) :
    I believe that 8 or 9 out of about 13 lifeboats located on the port side of the Costa Concordia were indeed launched, no info on those located on the starboard side. I also thought that my quite outrageous comment on SOLAS regulations might lead to discussion of how to overcome the problems of where lifeboats are located on modern passenger vessels etc., oh well...

    Whatever, Garry Hartshorn wrote:
    I also worry that it's just a mere 3 "normal EU working days" which have passed since last Friday, that the media / authorities / companies interests' etc. are already considering basically abandonning all further efforts of locating and rescuing any remaining survivors in the wreck...?! :mad:

    Hollywood studios are probably already in a real frenzy to produce the movie I imagine. Obviously with 1 or more suitable heroes (any suggestions?) and with "Captain Francesco Schettino" as the arch-villain.

    I was wrong to compare the Costa Concordia with the RMS Titanic. A better Hollywood comparison would be with the movie "The Poseidon Adventure" 1972 starring Gene Hackmann. I believe that I also saw the more recent remake, obviously entirely forgettable, except for the obligatory teenage female actress wearing nothing more than the obligatory torn pillow-case whilst climbing downwards towards the surface, as it were...:)
  11. carelm

    carelm Senior Member

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    I was surprised how close to shore the ship was. Based on a variety of pictures, it looks to be less than 100 feet from the shore.
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Other than that both sank I see very little comparison between this, Titanic or Poseidon. I wouldn't go to Hollywood for inspiration.
    From what I've read nobody has given up searching for survivors. They've searched all areas above water and are continuing through the ship as circumstances permit. However, the odds of bringing any of the remaining out alive is extremely remote given the flooding and temperatures. It's a risk vs reward calculation. The ship has shifted and is at risk of breaking apart. The divers are risking their lives in the best of circumstances. You can't risk more lives lost going after bodies and no indication of survivors.
    Your note about looking into how lifeboats are launched is valid however. It's pretty obvious that when a ship lists to a certain degree it will be impossible to launch boats from one side. Seems to me that should be a correctable situation.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I believe early reports indicated that after hitting the rock the ship headed for the shallows (one of the few things this captain seems to have done right), which is what the captain's lawyer is hanging his hat on. That and a story that the captain tripped and just happened to fall into a lifeboat, instead of that he ran away and saved his own butt without concern for the passengers he left behind.
  14. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Most of the lifeboats on starboard side were also launched.
  15. lobo

    lobo Senior Member

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    According to local press reports, he fell into a lifeboat where his 2nd and 3rd officers were already comfortably seated ...
  16. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    Well said Cap - that was pretty much was I was going to say too. And I was also going to ask about the starboard lifeboats, which Lars has just answered for us.

    My limited understanding of the SOLAS rules is that the regulators recognize that a sinking ship will almost inevitably list and so not all lifeboats can be launched. Therefore provision must be made for additional 'life-rafts', of which there are many and varied types available. The Concordia will have had to pass a rigorous seaworthiness examination, as well as satisfying her insurers that all souls can be catered for in the event of a sinking. The fact that some passengers jumped into the sea and swam for shore is not indicative of a lack of lifeboats, especially as it appears that the launched lifeboats returned to the ship after disgorging passengers onto the shore. Those jumping into the sea most likely did so because they thought it was their best chance of survival in a a dangerous and confused situation.

    And that is hardly surprising. All the evidence published so far alleges that the captain and his first officer abandoned the ship (however that came about) leaving behind a leaderless, frightened and inexperienced crew, the vast majority of whom were hotel and entertainment staff, rather than seamen.

    The crew who remained to see their passengers safely off the ship deserve the highest praise, but one can see how, without leadership, passengers would feel that it was each man for himself.

    The final report on this tragedy will either correct or confirm our speculations, but I suspect that it will also show that this could have been a lot worse, especially if (whoever it was) had not turned her back to shore, or if a damaged propulsion system had prevented that.

    We must also remember those continuing to put their lives on the line whilst searching in the flooded and chaotic confines of the vessel. Lets hope and pray that they are successful in finding more survivors.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  17. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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  18. carelm

    carelm Senior Member

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    Does anybody know how long the Concordia stayed relatively upright before listing over? This picture shows it being fairly upright with rescue operations already underway. It also appears a number of passengers are gathered on the bow.

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  19. luckylg

    luckylg New Member

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