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Friday’s cruise ship tragedy resulted in the death of 11 passengers and left 23 missing. The luxurious Italian cruiser with more than 4,200 people on board, partially sank off the Italian coast due to human errors by Captain Francesco Schettino, who had taken an “unapproved, unauthorized” route.
Peter Wild, a cruise industry consultant and former navigating officer said, “Human error or navigational error is a real possibility; those are the two most likely causes in general.” The ship’s captain was arrested on Saturday and according to CNN News, chief prosecutor Francesco Verusio said, “Capt. Francesco Schettino is under arrest and may face charges that include manslaughter, shipwreck, and abandoning a ship when passengers were still on board.”
USA Today reported that a coast guard official said, the exact details of the incident were still not clear; however, the first alarm rang at around 10:30 pm, almost three hours after the Concordia had started its journey from Civitavecchia’s port to its first destination, Savona, in northwestern Italy.
A loud bang was the first hint that something wasn’t right. “We were having supper when the lights suddenly went out, we heard a boom and a groaning noise, and the entire cutlery fell on the floor.” Luciano Castro told Italy’s Ansa news agency.
According to BBC News, the passengers were told that the ship was merely facing some electricity problems. However, Fabio Costa, the cruise ship shop worker, said, people started to panic in desperation when they realized that something was awfully wrong.
“Everybody was trying to get on the boats at the same time. When people had to get on the lifeboats they were pushing each other. It was a bit chaotic. We were trying to keep passengers calm but it was just impossible. Nobody knew what was going on,” Elizabeth Nanni of the Isola del Giglio Tourist Information described.
In a statement released on Sunday, Costa Cruises said, “We comply very strictly with all safety regulations and our personnel are committed, first and foremost, to guest safety and security. All crew members are trained in basic safety and emergency management, and their skills are tested periodically.” However, the survivors of the disaster had a different opinion. Vivian Safer, a passenger said, “There wasn’t anybody to help you; I mean, the passengers were loading the lifeboats by themselves.”
Michael Crye, executive vice president of the Cruise Line International Association believes that Costa Concordia had experienced a similar damage to that of Titanic. However, he said, “It’s too soon to know whether any new regulations are needed to avoid a disaster like this.”