More than six years have passed since the ship M/S Costa Concordia part sinking incident 14 January 2012 took place and safety at sea has not improved since.
To find out why the ship capsized at all - study chapter 6 or 1.3 below. My personal opinion - you can quote me and, please do - is that the ship was used for drug smuggling between America and Europe and that things got wrong. The following cover up - first putting the Master in jail by criminal Italian judges and finally sinking the ship April 2017 outside Genoa by criminal Italian ship scrapping companies - is amazing and only possible due to the fact that Italy is a banana state run by the Mafia since many years!
It was easy - the American ship owner said he/she is not responsible of anything on the Italian ship ever ... which Italy accepted. An Italian ship is run by a Master responsible for everything! Then the ship partly sank and ... the American ship owner, not responsible for anything, said the ship had become a wreck ... which Italy accepted. All was the sole fault of the Master ... which was accepted. Then the wreck was salvaged and became a ship again!! Imagine that. Salvage a wreck and it became a ship again! And the ship was brought to Genoa ... to be scrapped! And finally the ship was towed to sea a dark night and was sunk April/May 2017 outside Genoa - probably with the drugs still aboard that were supposed to be dropped off outside Isola del Giglio 2012!
All this happened in front of media ... that didn't report a thing except Fake News! It was like a Mafia murder at high noon at Sicily in front of 100's of people ... nobody noticed a thing. It as an amazing story.
Why safety at sea, my concern, has not improved, start by reading my Summary:
I have numbered the sections in this Introduction #0-60 for easy reference. There are also 12+ further chapters with more details, if anyone is interested. There are many Italian books written about the incident, but if they mention my observations are not certain. There are many curious aspects of the accident and the three incidents never reported by media. Media & Co suggest all was the fault of the Master alone. It seems everyone concerned with this case is cheating and/or lying at the request of the ship owner. The ship owner and maritime authority are not responsible for anything and can decide and say anything. The legal judges, prosecutors, technical experts of the tribunal and underwriters can invent anything and legal counsels of the various parties concerned do not object too much. And media just report anything without questions. It is easy. The public does not understand much anyway. Cheap unsafe cruising they like. Safe cruising at same cost ... they dislike. The passenger ticket requires that legal claims be pursued in Genoa, Italy, which is the principal place of Costa's business but none has been pursued. Strange, isn't it?
Media have typically falsified and faked all relevant facts about the incidents to protect the responsible parties!
It seems to be standard procedure these days. Nothing has changed since 28 September 1994 when the M/S Estonia sank due to sabotage. Media just reported all was the fault of the shipmaster or some structural design details. Case closed! No passengers on the M/S Estonia have managed to pursue any claims in a legal court anywhere. Safety at sea is more complex than that - see interview. The Costa Concordia case is in fact much more complicated than described by media. There are people believing that the below didn't happen. Start reading it! It is quite funny - a Moldovan dancer was having fun in a show ... off stage. But as they say in the republic of Moldova - when you dance in the snow, you end up dancing on it.
I hope all readers will find my observations interesting, even if it takes time to study them.
0.0 Introduction - cheap American cruises and no safety
Welcome to my Heiwa Co 12+ web pages about the January 2012 incidents of the Italian flag (of convenience - international register = anything goes) cheap cruises M/S Costa Concordia owned by an irresponsible and stupid American ship owner - Carnival Corporation & plc.
Carnival CEO Micky Arison said in a statement after the incident:
'At this time, our priority is the safety of our passengers and crew. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding (sic) of the Costa Concordia and especially to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives.'
Actually the priority of safety should have been prior the incident, which was not a grounding. People on ships normally do not die due to groundings! You should wonder why the ship owner has not been arrested.
Carnival is a global cruise company and one of the largest vacation/cheap/very cheap cruise companies in the world. Its portfolio of leading cruise brands includes Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in North America; P&O Cruises and Cunard in the United Kingdom; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe; and P&O Cruises in Australia. Their objective is to sell cheap cruises. Safety at sea is not really their concern! If something happens, the ship owner just blames the crew or staff member concerned and fires him. In this case the Master. The ship owner is not responsible for anything aboard. It is evidently not true but in this sad case all concerned have agreed it is true. Except me.
A cheap cruise ship today is just a slow, self-propelled barge with a hotel built on top, where passengers can wine and dine, etc., while the barge itself moves from one boring port to another. The staff and crew of these cheap cruise ships, most underpaid foreigners, are accommodated down in the hull below waterline. It has little to do with old-fashioned, luxury cruising 40+ years ago. To cut costs, costs of safety are also cut!
In order to assist readers to understand the basics of marine incident investigations and how the ship owner Costa Cruises manipulated the marine incidents investigations from the start some definitions of words used are given:
(*The Swedish Maritime Authority, Sjöfartsverket, believes that all deck houses are watertight and that a ship like M/S Estonia floats on the deck house. Same authority also believes it is normal practice that passengers jump into the sea and swim ashore when their ship sinks.)
11 February 2015 the Master, F. Schettino, of M/S Costa Concordia was sentenced to 16 years, 1 month jail due to a simple accident - a contact - 13 January 2012 followed by two fatal incidents - capsize and sinking/drowning people. In Italy the presumption of innocence is essentially in place until all appeals have been exhausted, so at present Schettino must be considered innocent, while he prepares the appeal ... hopefully based on info provided here.
It is of interest to recall the M/T Prestige incident. It took place November 2002. The tanker spilt oil in the sea. Capt Mangouras, the Master of the M/T Prestige was arrested by Spanish authorities immediately upon arrival ashore accused of causing it. He spent 83 days in prison and was only released (and put into house arrest) upon payment (by the London P&I club) of bail amounting to â¬3.000.000. Evidently the Master could not himself pay the enormous bail! As the Master evidently did not cause the oil spill, the Spanish authorities had then to delay any court proceedings ... for almost 10 years! Then a Spanish court decided that he wasn't guilty. But end 2015 the Spanish authorities appealed this decision and January 2016 the Spanish supreme court ruled that the Master was guilty and should ... spend two years in jail. Maritime justice is what it is. Subject to political pressures.
The reasons for sentencing (in Italian legal language) Schettino were provided 10 July 2015 and consists of an Introduction and six parts together 553 pages! You can study them at : http://www.studio-gabrielli.it/concordia/SENTENZA_Concordia_completa_avv_gabrielli.pdf
The judges (pp 1- 10) say in the Introduction that Schettino on 13 January 2012 was really stupid, when he performed a simple, planned turn at sea show for admiring people on the bridge and failed to:
Imagine all the errors made by one person aboard! But how could Schettino avoid causing a ship wreck, if we do not know how and why the ship suddenly capsized and then sank?
Schettino, the Master appointed by the ship owner, is shown in the judgement to be completely incompetent; breaking all rules of the book and fixed by the International Safety Management, ISM, documents aboard in order to do a simple, planned turn outside an island and to handle an emergency. The judges therefore consider that Schettino personally and alone is responsible for 32 manslaughters incl. the murder (omicidio!) of the little Dayana Arlotti (the youngest victim) and the 193 injuries (incl. post-stress victims). Schettino is also responsible for having produced the ship wreck, even if he left the ship before it sank (but not using his personal #1 lifeboat), etc, etc.
The above, strange findings do not tally with the preliminary report by the Italian experts handed in around 13 September 2012 to the tribunal or with the Italian technical investigation report that was completed May 2013 ... which I review here. It seems the alleged, early facts and findings have been modified to suit the final judgement.
It is not mentioned that Schettino initially thought that the damaged ship was safe and could be towed to a port for repairs. There was therefore no urgency to raise the General Emergency alarm and Abandon Ship alarm. The passengers were of course upset that their dinners were interrupted and the magic show in the theatre stopped and that the bars stopped serving drinks and that gambling in the casino was interrupted. But that's life.
When Schettino left the ship and why he didn't use his own #1 lifeboat are not stated. The wheel house/emergency centre was abandoned 23.20 hrs (when the ship was still floating, stable and safe (see photos above) and Abandon ship was completed but leaving persons behind) but what Schettino did until he later abandoned ship - jumped on the roof of a lifeboat - is unclear. He seems to have been running around with his Moldovan girl friend (sic) and suddenly the ship capsized. He definitely didn't use his own #1 starboard forward lifeboat. The girlfriend has testified that she and the Master took a romantic walk to the uppermost deck waiting for a helicopter to carry them away. It seems the Master assumed the ship was never going to sink. Anyway, the judge forgot to ask Schettino about these important matters.
Then there is Part 1 with a description of the ship:
Para 1.3.3 Watertight doors (pp 67-70) is interesting. The ship (and sisters) has 25 watertight doors and the arrangement is illegal. The judges do not know this and that the ship was incorrectly built, certified and operated and that open watertight doors produce capsize/sinking, when the ship is leaking.
After the Estonia incident 1994 I proposed to the Swedish Maritime administration that, if illegal watertight doors are fitted (sic), you should also fit bilge alarms that would close the doors, when the bilge was up-flooded for any reason. The bilge alarms would also assist the bridge to know what compartments were in contact with the sea. The Swedish administration was not interested. They were active to cover up that M/S Estonia was not seaworthy. The Swedish administration rules that in an emergency the passengers shall jump overboard and swim ashore or to a raft thrown into the water.
Para 1.3.8 Lifesaving appliance (pp 79-82) is also interesting. The equipment is in order for 3 780 passengers and 1 110 staff/crew but it was not used! Three port lifeboats (of 26) were never lowered to the embarkation deck and many lifeboats on starboard side were not lowered almost an hour after Abandon ship was ordered and only a few life rafts of about 79 were used. It appears there were not enough trained crew members aboard to launch them! The judges apparently do not know that the ship was incorrectly manned and operated with not properly trained crew and thus - not seaworthy! When abandoning ship all, almost 5 000 persons aboard gather at only two muster stations A and B on deck #4 for passengers and four muster stations #1-4 for the staff. The system had apparently never been tested. A muster station for about 2 000 passengers is not correct! Each passenger should have his allocated lifeboat and seamen to help him/her and each staff should also have its life raft station and all persons aboard should know what crew members will escort and count them. It takes only 30 minutes to practice ... but it was never done - not seaworthy!
Para 1.4.1 Crew (pp 91- 94) says that you only need 75 crew to safely operate the ship. How 75 crew can launch 26 lifeboats and 79 life rafts and ensure that almost 4 900 persons are assisted and escorted to embark into them is not clear? The official working language aboard was Italian. If all crew spoke Italian is not established.
Para 1.4.3 Safety Exercises (pp 97-103) does not really describe how to muster passengers and staff and how to abandon ship. And we are told that "I periti e, prima di loro, l'inchiesta sommaria effettuata dalla Capitaneria di Porto di Livorno, acquisita agli atti, hanno giudicato il Sistema adottato dalla Costa Crociere non conforme alia normativa", i.e. it is thought the system adopted by Costa Cruises does not comply with the legislation.
Para 1.4.5 Muster List (pp 105-115) should describe what crew assist to muster passengers and staff, how to prepare lifeboats and life rafts for embarkation and how to abandon ship - but we don't know it that crew was available.
Part 2 (pp 123-206) of the judgment/sentence describes the last voyage, the contact incident 13 January 2012 but not the capsize and sinking 14 January killing people ... and the fact that the Master thought that the ship was safe after contact.
Para 2.2.5, 6 (pp 150-166) tries to explain how Schettino takes over command of the starboard turn at 21.39 hrs, when the course is 300° - Only 34° to complete the turn and how he runs the ship almost up on land. Why the ship does not turn starboard is not explained. Because the ship does not turn! Schettino orders the planned turn to starboard but the ship does not turn!! All descriptions of what happens 21.40-21.45 hrs are only based on Voice Recordings. There is no mention that the Voyage Data Recordings are not available. And suddenly there is the famous underwater contact port aft, while finally turning sharp starboard around 21.45 hrs. Without this hard starboard turn the ship would have run up straight on land!
In retrospect I assume that the ship's itinerary was further south than indicated (prior the turn) and that the 56°+ starboard turn was in fact completed (!), when arriving at course 350° but very, much too close to the Isola del Giglio (100 m in lieu of 800 m), when Le Scole rock was seen straight ahead and hard starboard was ordered ... followed by the contact. To hide this fact the Voyage Data Recorder data was deleted. A better, safer route would have been to turn far south of the island and then pass the island on a straight 340° course at a safe distance and slow speed. More time for the passengers to watch the island ... in the winter darkness.
It is crystal clear that nobody died at 21.45 hrs on 13 January due to the accidental contact and that the Master killed nobody 13 January. The vessel remained stable and floating! A little later the light went out - Black out! It didn't kill anybody either. The passengers only wondered what was going on. The emergency light worked. No ship doctors were called to attend any persons. It is a strange judgement.
Part 3 (pp 207-392) of the judgement is about the handling of the EMERGENCY afterwards. It starts first in a reconstruction of the significant events since the contact of Costa Concordia with a rock at 21.45 hrs up until 23.20 hrs, when the bridge/emergency centre was abandoned by Schettino and senior staff and some crew.
The ship was always floating and stable and had just finally drifted to and was pushed against the shore line. A confused and incomplete Abandon ship operation took place. Nobody had died and nobody was really injured. Confusion ranges. Passengers were upset that they had to wait to embark the lifeboats. Some people may have been injured during the Abandon ship operation and before the capsize/sinking but details are not clear.
With at least two Italian ship doctors and some nurses looking after the 3 800+ passengers/staff aboard we should know better. But what happened to the medical staff on the M/S Costa Concordia is not known and nobody incl. the judges seem to bother about it. It is very strange. If people die on a ship, you should expect that the ship's doctors are informed, etc.
It is clear that the ship owner's planned emergency handling system (plenty of manuals and papers) didn't work. Nobody knows, e.g. if the watertight doors have been closed (para 3.3.2) and the time for it. If the system had been practiced with drills and tested is not established even if you have to look in the log books for it. The heel angle, trim and soundings of intact hull compartments are not recorded.
However at 22.33 hrs the General Emergency alarm was raised. All passengers were told to go to the muster stations A and B on deck #4. Ship was upright and stable. Now at least all lifeboats should have been lowered to the embarkation deck to be ready to receive passengers. But it was not done! There is no record that all passengers were at the muster stations and had been counted by appointed crew. Photos just show plenty people packed together on a deck.
And at 22.54 hrs the Abandon Ship alarm/order was given. All passengers and staff should now be escorted to and embark into their lifeboats and life rafts, but as seen on photos above all lifeboats were not even lowered. If all lifeboats had been prepared and the passengers counted is of course not clear because it was not recorded. The life rafts were hardly used.
It seems the emergency handling incl. Abandon ship was completed at 23.20 hrs and the wheel house abandoned. What Schettino did after 23.20 hrs is not established. Why the ship suddenly capsized and sank one hour and ten minutes later and when it was established that it could happen is not clarified. This is a serious defect of the whole judgement/investigation of the incidents. It is very likely that the staff opened illegal watertight doors in the hull during the emergency and that they were never closed again due to the Black-out.
Part 4 (pp 394-428) is about alleged crimes committed by Schettino after leaving the bridge at 23.20 hrs and finally leaving the ship, when it capsized and sank 14 January around 00.32 hrs. At 23.20 hrs the ship was still floating and almost upright <15° heel. Why Schettino & Co abandoned the Emergency Centre - the wheel house - at 23.20 hrs, when Abandon Ship is not complete is unclear in the judgement. You would expect Schettino should proceed to his own lifeboat #1 and leave as the last person aboard ... or not leave at all. The ship was safe! Or wasn't it? But it seems Schettino was running around on the ship with his Moldovan girl friend. Why we are not told in the judgement, which is incomplete.
I assume that the mustering, counting, embarkation of passengers and staff systems broke down at 23.20 hrs. No reports were received. All was confusion. So there was little for Schettino to do on the emergency centre (the Voice recordings should tell us!). He must have assumed that most people had been evacuated, so he left to have a look. He probably finally realized that the ship was not seaworthy at departure. But the judges never inquired about that. Strange!
Part 5 (pp 431-462) is about some legal aspects.
Part 6 (pp 464-538) is about the "indirect" (sic) responsibility of the ship owner.
I always tell my ship owner clients that they are always personally directly responsible that the ship is seaworthy and that it means they are responsible for everything and cannot blame the Master, etc. And if the ship is not seaworthy, insurance is not valid.
Here we are told that American ship owners of Italian ships are not responsible for anything. Passengers having paid the ship owner for a trip cannot sue the ship owner and same applies for employed staff and crew members aboard that are not happy and any third party believing having been affected by an incident.
The judges suggest that it is a fact that the alleged criminal conduct of the commander Schettino has indeed caused substantial damages to the assets of the American ship owning company ("just think of the damage to the ship Costa Concordia itself and all the costs required for the removal and dismantling of the wreck", the judges write - all paid for by stupid insurances!!), in addition to non-pecuniary damages to discredit the image of the American company itself immediately following the shipwreck. Thus an American ship owner of Italian ships cannot be responsible for anything.
Therefore Schettino is condemned to be shot, if it were permitted by Italian law. Or burnt alive on a fire! The judges just propose jail. Of course the Schettino will appeal the above ridiculous judgement, reasons and sentence, so that the show can go on. And on!
Schettino probably always made his best to satisfy the passengers' needs and to entertain them to keep the ship owner happy. That was his job. The details of running the ship from A to B and all safety matters were delegated to others. Nobody was really trained to manage an Emergency. The priority #1 was to make money. Basic safety? Forget it. It was a cheap cruise and you get what you pay.
That the ship was not seaworthy at departure, i.e. unsafe, with ship owners' and authorities' full knowledge is clear from the above descriptions. But in Italy ship owners and authorities are above the law.
What do you expect will happen now?
Well certain twerps believe that the 16+ years' prison punishment of Schettino is not enough!
21 September 2015 both the prosecution and defence, i.e. Schettino have lodged appeals in the case of the Italian captain convicted over the 2012 shipwreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the Tuscan coast.
The prosecutors believe that the punishment is insufficient for the disaster, in which the Concordia capsized after sailing too close to Giglio and hitting rocks. They asked for a 26 years jail term at the first-instance trial, when Schettino was convicted of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, abandoning ship and abandoning the incapable.
The appeal by Schettino (that it was an accident and that - probably the ship was not seaworthy, etc, etc) was also handed in to the court at Florence (Firenze) April/May 2016.
Schettino has written a book about it in English, which will be reviewed here in due course. He argues he was set up to become a scapegoat, while the real offenders go free.
The appeals against the former captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that capsized and killing 32 people, were decided at Florence, Italy on May 31, 2016 (source). The court confirmed the original sentence, i.e. the captain is responsible for everyting. Therefore safety at sea cannot be improved.
1.0 Will the truth of the M/S Costa Concordia incidents 2012 and the conspiracy to blame the Master for them be known 2016 or later? Probably not - the Master is sentenced to spend 16 years, 1 month in jail having caused a shipwreck ... but there is no shipwreck any longer ... only a damaged ship full of water.
14 January 2016 four years had passed since M/S Costa Concordia capsized and sank outside Isola del Giglio, Italy, killing 32 persons. I will show here that the ship operated by Carnival Corporation & plc was always unsafe and not seaworthy. There were no ceremonies in Italy or anywhere to remember what happened that day. The Italian official incident investigation report of what happened is a scandal.
Of course the local mafia + church paid by the ship owner remembered with plenty smiles 13 January 2015, when nobody drowned three years earlier outside the island. You should wonder why people on the island participate in this show? Money?
The water filled wreck/ship of the Costa Concordia arrived 27 July 2014 at Genoa Voltri from Isola del Giglio after a 30 months removal in order to be re-cycled and scrapped one way or another. How the water filled wreck/ship finally ended up there - another scandal - is described in chapter 11. Evidently the wreck/ship cannot be scrapped at Genoa Voltri container port. It may sink again there, in my opinion. Only more money will prevent it. Who pays it?
It seems (nobody really knows) that the wreck (September 2015) still belongs to Carnival Corporation & plc that regards the wreck only as a damaged, water filled ship/hull kept afloat by sponsons, still registered in the Italian registry, which is being dismantled and re-cycled at Genoa, Italy, by some sub-contractors (Saipem/Porto San Giorgio) as front. The ship was only a wreck between 14 January 2012, when it sank, and 23 July 2014, when it was re-floated again albeit full of water assisted by caissons, and became a ship again. Full of water, not to forget.
The show trial in a theatre at Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, of the Master, Francesco Schettino, alleged to have sunk the ship owner's ship himself and killed 32 persons, while saving himself, ended dramatically 11 February 2015 (the ship owners legal councilor collapsed a little earlier, etc). The Master was sentenced to 16 years, 1 month in jail and to pay damages. The prosecutor Maria Navarro also requested that Schettino should be locked up at once, as he could flee. Schettino's legal counsel has however informed:
"If Francesco Schettino wanted to run away, he would have done it 3 years ago. He did not. He has no interest to flee, nor the will nor the means. He thinks he can still defend himself, there are many things that have not yet been clarified, and he considers it necessary for him to be present at the appeal process."
The written sentence with reasons and motives were supposed to be published 11 May 2015 but on that day nothing happened. On 29 May 2015 it was announced that the written sentence with reasons and motives would be available by 13 July 2015 to enable Schettino to appeal it as explained above.
The ship was not seaworthy with ship owner's knowledge and insurances were not valid. Regardless it seems the appeal may be available in October 2015 and a new trial may start 2016. The show will thus just go on.
Already 7 April 2015 it was decided that Schettino should remain at liberty to be able to appeal the sentence, when the reasons were known (10 July 2015). Schettino has informed he will use new legal counsels for the appeal.
The trial started already 2012 by the court appointing some experts, report of which is a scandal, but the first court sessions were not held until July 2013 and until end 2014 the court met about 60 times. We were told by the Italian state represented by a prosecutor that the Master aboard is alone (!) responsible for everything on a passenger ship in Italy and that the Ship Owner ashore is not responsible for anything. The legal counsel of Schettino at the time never objected!
I know that it is the ship owner Carnival Corporation & plc including its directors that are responsible. The passengers buy a ticket to sail on the ship and the ticket is sold by the ship owner/Company owning the ship. The legal conditions of the trip are printed on the ticket. The ticket is an agreement between passenger/ship owner. If a passenger is not happy with the trip he/she can of course complain to the Master that will transmit the complaint to the ship owner. The passenger ticket requires that legal claims be pursued at Genoa which is the principal place of Costa's business. However no claims have been made at Genoa.
The ship owner and directors and staff decide and write all standard instructions how to operate the ship safely and employ the Master just to sail the ship from A to B according these instructions. If a passenger is not happy with the voyage, normally she/he asks the ship owner - Costa - to indemnify. Not the Master! Basic! Audits and checks are made to ensure the safety systems work.
It is the Italian State (maritime authority) that approves these written instructions/procedures.
The Italian State (maritime authority) also approves all seamen, Italian and foreign, employed on the Italian flag ship by the ship owner. In this case a lot of non-EU, non Italian speaking, low paid foreign citizens were employed on the ship and you should wonder why.
The Italian State (maritime authority) also certifies that the ship is safe and built according the regulations.
The ship owner is responsible that the ship is seaworthy and in compliance with all regulations and that a full complement is aboard to assist the passengers in an emergency. If it is found that the ship is not seaworthy, the Italian State (maritime authority) (or the Master!) should stop the ship to sail from an Italian port. It would appear that the Italian State civil servants have committed multiple faults in this case.
The IMO thinks it is a good idea that every passenger ship has "a well-trained crew to provide professional assistance during evacuations". Evidently M/S Costa Concordia didn't have one. Is it the sole fault of the Master?
The IMO decided June 2013 that any action to be taken as a result of the Costa Concordia accident "should be directly linked to the cause of the accident".
The Italian prosecutor of the case had however completely different ideas, i.e. the Master is responsible for everything regardless of any cause. And Master's legal counsel never objected. So we do not really know the causes of the three incidents - contact, capsize, sinking.
On 25 February 2013, i.e. before the trial really started, chief prosecutor Francesco Verusio, said however that, after a sophisticated scientific and other technological investigations were carried out (details unknown!), there was a new suspect - the human factor:
"the determining cause of the events of the ship wreck, deaths and injuries, is, unfortunately, dramatically due to the human factor."
Good! But what human factor? The ship owner, the directors and staff ashore? The Italian Maritime authority staff at Rome/Genoa and its inspectors in the ports? The Master, officers and crew aboard the ships? The human factor was soon forgotten.
The chief prosecutor Francesco Verusio retired on 16 January 2015 and somebody else had to take over the show and conclude the procedure February 2015. What a comedy - the star of the show retired!
After 40 sessions the accused Schettino stopped attending the show trial. So far only the prosecution's and third parties' fantasy accusations how guilty Schettino is, that the ship owner is not responsible of anything aboard and that the Italian State is not responsible ashore and various testimonies of all kind that passengers are suffering from post traumatic stress ... all the fault of poor Schettino, of course ... had been heard. The human factor, the ship owner and the Italian State were forgotten!
For example on 4 November 2014 a young male passenger, 13 years old at the time of the incidents, provided sensational news never heard before about the first incident: "I was aboard when suddenly the light went off. There was confusion ... ". You get the impression that the Master switched off the light.
Imagine! A little boy is forced to witness as part of a ... show ... trial. Poor boy!
On 17 November the Giglio port captain G. Rossi testified. He and others from the port assisted to evacuate people from Costa Concordia and noted that all lifeboats and life rafts were not used. They picked up nine persons in the water and two directly from the ship ... one in a wheel chair!
All the fault of the Master?
We do not know! Did Schettino push any wheel chairs?
Later Schettino returned to attend the sessions.
No questions about him pushing wheel chairs around.
Schettino himself answered questions on Monday 1 December 2014 in his first appearance in the dock since his trial opened in July 2013. On 2 and 3 December 2014 Schettino was questioned, a little late I think, to present his version of what actually happened aboard the ship 13/14 January 2012. On various questions he replied that in his opinion (sic) the ship was seaworthy at departure afternoon 13 January 2012 - if not he would not have departed (sic) - and that the contact incident in the evening was an accident due to confusion on the bridge or crew negligence, the ship not turning starboard as expected, when rudders were turned, etc. To abandon the ship did not go perfect as 600 passengers having embarked in the morning had not been instructed what to do (unless they had watched a video).
If any or all of the 3 206 passengers (and the >900 staff) knew how to abandon ship is unclear. The prosecutor or court has not established this basic fact.
There was no delay to ask for assistance after the first incident - the contact - according the Master because it was done after the situation had been discussed and checked aboard and with the ship owner ashore; the ship was safe, stable, not sinking, etc., and all, >4.100 persons aboard could be evacuated without outside assistance, as the port of Giglio was only 300 meters away.
About Schettino leaving the ship early (!) in this video of the embarkation of starboard lifeboats it was suggested that Schettino (Schettino says it is not him) is filmed helping one passenger aboard a lifeboat in the water: we see all 13 starboard lifeboats already in the water, two lifeboats are moored side by side with some crew sitting on the ship's deck watching. An almost empty (!) lifeboat is seen aft. No life rafts have been launched. Forward people are jumping on the roof (!) of another lifeboat to get aboard. Strange abandon ship operation! You should just lower the lifeboats to embarkation deck level, so that people can embark into it, and when the boat is full, you lower it into water and sail away. A little later the ship itself suddenly capsized and floated at 90° heel - starboard side resting on the rocks below water. Schettino says he then jumped on the roof of a lifeboat.
We learnt that Schettino carries contact lenses. Most sailors have otherwise sharp eyes always scanning the horizon far away and women close by. No questions about the crew aboard were posed.
Was the underpaid, non-Italian crew with slave wages supplied by the ship owner and approved by the Italian State really capable to execute an abandon ship operation?
Had it ever been practised?
Nobody knows. The experts have not told us and the court is not interested to establish this fact.
The prosecution has not even investigated this fatal deficiency.
Media then reported for the first time that people died on 14 January, 2012:
But media was wrong again, as usual. Nobody died during the abandon ship or evacuation 13/14 January 2012.
People died or rather drowned later - after the ship had capsized, the second incident and was sinking, the third incident that took place early morning 14 January 2012.
The next sessions when the Master answered more questions were 11, 12 and 13 December, 2014.
No questions about Schettino himself killing people aboard, sinking the ship and then running away had so far been posed. And no witnesses of any kind had so far suggested anything like it. So far the court had only confirmed that there was a contact, followed by black out (and confusion) aboard and that Schettino had a young female Moldovan friend looking on. What a stupid show of Italian justice. It is clear that is protects the ship owner and the Italian State. On 11 December Schettino, asked by some lawyer or prosecutor, informed that most foreign, low paid, cheap crew aboard supplied by the ship owner didn't speak the ship's working language Italian and that there were problems due to it. Schettino apparently didn't speak Malay or the Indonesian dialect of the helmsman ... or Moldovan. The helmsman (person turning the rudders) was not good and the first to run to the lifeboats after the first incident. On 12 December a lawyer asked Schettino about who was in charge aboard ... apart from God. Schettino humbly said that he was 'responsible' aboard but didn't mention that he could perform marriages aboard between willing passengers ... and that the marriages were only valid until the couples left the ship.
Schettino forgot to inform that the ship owner, i.e. Carnival Corporation & plc and the Italian maritime authority ashore are also responsible to assist him.
Schettino was not asked why he didn't steer and turn the ship himself in lieu of shouting orders in Malay/English/Italian or whatever to an incompetent helmsman. Many Masters love to steer their ships in and out of ports. It is fun. You don't have to shout to others, when you do it yourself!
I cannot understand why Schettino insited to shout in lieu of doing everything himself.
The helmsman is another mystery. After failing his duty to turn the ship, he should have been part of the Abandon ship crew. I assume, as a seaman he should have taken care of one of the lifeboats to rescue passengers.
But it seems he just ran away! Never heard of.
And why didn't Schettino invite his friend the Moldovan dancer to do the turn? It is sexy! The girl grips the steering wheel, while the Master grips the dancer from behind, etc, etc.
But it only happens in Hollywood! Or.
No questions about ship owner's responsibility ashore or aboard were asked ... the ship owner was not there! Another question was whether Schettino had lied (sic) to the investigators of the incident the days after it took place. Schettino said he told the investigators just what he thought had happened then ... and that later he may have got another understanding of the incidents (having studied this web page?). No questions about Schettino's feelings about the media were posed. Media have evidently for almost three years described Schettino as an incompetent coward and dirty mass murderer (employed and paid by an innocent ship owner smelling like a rose). On 13 December the prosecution asked, if the salute and passing of the island - the inchino - was dangerous. No, said Schettino, it was Company policy and pre-planned to occur safely half a mile, 950 meters, from the island and everybody concerned was informed about it. But something went wrong, i.e. the ship didn't turn to follow the planned course. Actually the turn took much too long to execute and we don't know why, as explained in sections #36-43 below and in Part I of this report.
Isn't it remarkable that nobody at the trial for two years cares why the ship didn't turn as planned and why the descriptions of the turn given by experts in various reports do not explain anything?
Why turn at all late evening close to an island, which nobody aboard could see in the dark?
Why weren't all passengers aboard told about the turn close to the dark island?
Aha - it was dark and nothing to see! Welcome to Italy!
A simple starboard 50-60° turn shall be done - it takes just a minute or so - but the turn is not done - the ship is heading straight up on land for five minutes - and nobody wonders why?
It smells sabotage.
In March 2015 we learn that the ship was used to carry illegal drugs for the Italian mafia that lost a big shipment due to the incident.
Was the turn planned to dispose of the illegal drugs?
And since 26 March 2015 the wreck is under 24/24 watch to prevent unauthorized intruders!
The original mafia story was available already 2 March 2012. It was suggested that M/S Costa Concordia made the detour (inchino!) close to Isola del Giglio in order to drop off a bag full of cocaine to be picked up by a yacht in the port, the Master would be paid another bag full of money, etc, etc. Maybe it was sabotaged by people aboard not being paid?
Why was this possibility not been discussed at the trial?
Aha - it was simpler just to blame the Master for everything!
He was part of the drug smuggling scam and a perfect scapegoat.
Welcome to Italy!
Asked about the abandon ship operation interrupted by the capsize it was not clear what really happened. The Master should of course remain in the wheel house or in the emergency centre and direct the abandon ship operation from there - and not run around on the ship with a girl friend - and then, as last person aboard, jump into no. 1 starboard lifeboat reserved for the Master and the last crew aboard. Photos shown above indicate on the other hand that no. 1 starboard lifeboat was launched into the water, long before the Master + girl friend could join it.
Each passenger aboard should have been allocated a lifeboat and each lifeboat should have had a crew that contacted the Master, when it was full and had left the ship, etc. The staff and crew should have used the life rafts.
It is confirmed that Costa Concordia did not have any organisation at all for abandon ship in an emergency, which media has forgotten to report, and therefore it was never tested.
The prosecution thinks it is the fault of the Master. I think it is the fault of the ship owner and the Italian maritime administration. Imagine that big passenger ships are sailing around without crew to handle an emergency.
During a court break Schettino told The Daily Beast he thought things were going well. "I have waited for this day for a long time," he said. "I can't undo the facts, but I can try to explain them."
Schettino's testimony marked the end of the prosecution's case and the beginning of his somewhat challenging defence.
It seems the early 1 March 2012 claims of sexual harassment, drugs and alcohol abuse on the ship were completely forgotten at the trial:
Their claims are reportedly contained in 5,000 pages of evidence gathered by prosecutors in Grosseto, Tuscany, where the investigation into the Jan 13 disaster is based.
Then there was a break for Christmas and New Year and next year, 2015, the first hearing started Wednesday 21 January, i.e. more than three years after the first incident. The hearing was intended to finally hear four witnesses for the Schettino defence. The defence was apparently allocated only one day (!) to present its witnesses. Media should of course interview these witnesses! Imagine, there are witnesses defending the Master.
Now maybe we would hear the answers to the following simple questions about safety at sea. And why they have not been asked since January 2012?
- Why weren't all lifeboats and life rafts used on 13 January 2012, when the ship was still floating and stable and the order to abandon ship was given and why do not media write about it? Human factor? Or lack of crew aboard? Didn't the ship have muster stations, where passengers and catering staff should gather when leaving the ship?
In an emergency you would expect the following to happen, which is easy to practice at regular drills:
1. Allocated seamen aboard lowers all 26 lifeboats to embarkation deck #3 level, so that all 3 206 passengers and >900 non-marine catering staff later can board them and the life rafts in an orderly fashion. It should take maximum 10 minutes, when the Prepare for Abandon ship order is given. When ready they report to the Master (or 1st/Chief Officer?) at the Emergency Command Centre - deck #8!
2. When the prepare for abandon ship alarm is raised (via loudspeakers, bells or siren), all passengers (decks #1-11) and staff (decks A, B, C in the hull and superstructure) return to their cabins (the 14 passenger lifts are not working) to dress warmly, put on life preservers and pick up personal belongings, incl. diamonds, etc, and proceed via the stairwells to the muster stations on deck #4. It may be a long walk, if say you are in the bar on deck #5, when the alarm is raised, and your cabin is on deck #10, you have to walk up five decks to collect your belongings and then descend seven decks to get to the muster station. It should take maximum 30 minutes. Allocated cabin stewards ensure that all cabins/public rooms on all decks then have been evacuated. Handicapped passengers requiring assistance should have been helped by trained crew. You cannot assume that the Master personally shall check all cabins/public rooms on 12 passenger decks and three decks for staff below.
3. Allocated crew supervises/counts/ticks off from lists all 3 206 passengers and >900 non-marine staff aboard gathered at their allocated muster stations to be ready to escort them to their allocated lifeboats and rafts.
Every passenger/staff aboard should know
(a), where to muster (number/location of muster station),
(b) how to report to the chief at the muster station and to be ticked off and
(c) number of lifeboat or raft station to use and route muster station/lifeboat/raft.
When ready/counted the chiefs report to the Master (or 1st/Chief Officer?) at the Emergency Command Centre - deck #8!
When the Master finally gives the Order to abandon ship, 50% of the passengers in groups of, say 140 are escorted to the port lifeboats by their allocated crew, 50% of the passengers are escorted to the starboard lifeboats and it then should take little time to board the boats and lower them into the water. The staff should use the life rafts (on deck #4). There should be no need for anybody getting nervous or stressed, if instructions are followed.
Note: The passengers are told that the ship has only 12 decks, #1 to #12, with cabins, public rooms and open decks for them to enjoy in the deck house. However the ship has another five decks below in the hull and superstructure, where the mostly underpaid >900 staff is accommodated and works 12/12 and hardly sees day light during 11 months. According international safety rules, SOLAS, the total 17 decks shall be numbered from inner bottom up but ship owner Costa conveniently forgets it. The passengers of cheap cruises shall not be aware of the decks below!
4. When the lifeboats and life rafts are full and lowered into the water, it is report to the Master (or 1st/Chief Officer?) at the Emergency Command Centre! 60 minutes after the alarm has been raised, all aboard should be in lifeboats and rafts in the water. There is no need for the Master to run around. He should remain at the Emergency Command Centre all the time.
Note: There are strange stories by the alleged Moldovan mistress/lover of the Master that they + a sack of money or drugs were spending time at the uppermost deck waiting for a helicopter to lift them away. You wonder how such stories are spread?
5. When all reports have been received at the Emergency Command Centre that all aboard have been evacuated and nobody remains aboard, the remaining crew and the Master proceed calmly to #1 starboard lifeboat, which is lowered into the water.
Note: If the Master intends to escape with a sack or money or drugs at this hectic time, it would have been better to have stowed the money/drugs in the # 1 starboard lifeboat beforehand! Maybe it was done and some crew stole the lifeboat, money and drugs in the confusion?
It seems there was no mustering and 100% of the passengers and non-marine staff ran straight to the lifeboats unescorted. Evidently there was chaos, when the >4 100 passengers and staff just fought to get into any lifeboat available! It is clear evidence that the ship was not seaworthy.
It seems only a few seamen aboard M/S Costa Concordia knew how to lower the 26 lifeboats to the embarkation deck #3 port and starboard. They did their best running around from boat to boat. 1 000's of passengers then jumped hysterically and disorderly into the lifeboats. But then only the same few seamen knew how to lower the lifeboats into the water.
In the end 23 of 26 lifeboats were in the water, incl. #1 lifeboat reserved for Schettino without Schettino of course. Schettino says he jumped on the roof of a lifeboat, when the ship capsized. He should of course have locked himself to the steering wheel to sink with the ship!
Same confusion happened to the 66 life rafts to be used by >900 staff. Only a few seamen aboard knew how to launch a life raft. So it wasn't really done. Only a few life rafts were launched. Who is responsible for this mess? Schettino? Or the ship owner?
Evidently the ship owner is responsible! And the Italian maritime administration just looking on allowing the ship to sail.
Evidently media have never reported above.
I am amazed that the above confusion has not been analyzed by the experts, judges and counsels in the court. Reasons seem to be (A) to protect the ship owner and the administration and (B) to defraud insurance and (C) hide that the ship was not seaworthy so that (D) you could blame all on the Master and lock him up in jail. Haven't I seen it before?
However September 2012 the crew of the Costa Concordia, which capsized off the coast of Italy nine months earlier killing as many as 32 people, won the Lloyd's List 'Seafarer of the Year' award. The crew provided "true examples of courage and professionalism" during the dangerous night evacuation of the ship. "The 'Seafarer of the Year' award recognizes the competence, heroism and professionalism displayed by the sailors every day, the ship's operator Costa Cruises said in a statement. At the same time it was said that "crew members aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship were not properly drilled in evacuation procedures and could not even understand basic Italian", leaked evidence showed. "Not all the crew were able to understand the emergency instructions, which were in Italian," some anonymous experts said.
It would appear that the Lloyd's List award was just part of the show.
- Why did the ship suddenly capsize on 14 January 2012 killing/drowning people? It was a second incident. Were all watertight compartments checked by soundings by allocated crew members that they remained dry after the first incident to confirm the ship would continue to float safely and that progressive flooding was not taking place? Were any emergency instructions, if existing, really followed? Did anybody anywhere, aboard and ashore, expect the big, ugly, cheap cruise vessel to capsize? Was it discussed? Or did Schettino really capsize the ship himself? Could the use of automatic emergency bilge pumps or automatically closing watertight doors have prevented capsize?
I am amazed that the sudden capsize have not been analyzed by the experts, judges and counsels in the court to find out, if it could have been prevented.
1.3 What about the 25 illegal watertight doors on the vessel (and the sister ships)?
I am of course very interested to hear about the 25 illegal watertight doors on the M/S Costa Concordia that produced 169 minutes of progressive flooding ending in the sudden capsize, slow sinking, shipwreck, manslaughter and Master falling off and why they are not addressed by (A) the court experts in their report and by (B) the incident investigators in their report.
Two Italian incident investigation reports do not explain the cause of the sinking of the ship. Evidently the capsize caused the sinking, but what caused the capsize? The illegal, watertight doors? I personally hate watertight doors on passenger ships. Close them forever and arrange additional safe escapes from the hull compartments concerned. It will contribute to safety at sea. Any maritime authority should not permit any ship with watertight doors to sail unless it is certain that they are closed at sea. Schettino has also his doubts about the watertight doors (see section 13 below). Should Schettino personally close the 25 watertight doors? How can the Italian maritime administration allow a ship to have 25 watertight doors, when SOLAS maybe allows one as an exemption with particular operating requirements?
I am not really amazed that the illegal watertight doors have not been analyzed by the experts, judges and counsels in the court. It would confirm that the ship was wrongly designed and outfitted and not seaworthy! Probably the watertight doors were opened by the staff after the first incident - the contact - to facilitate the abandon ship and evacuation unless they were open before. Later the doors could not be closed due to the Black-out allowing progressive flooding of otherwise intact watertight compartments. The result was the loss of stability, capsize and sinking the next morning.
It would finally be interesting to know why the ship could depart without sufficient crew aboard to be able to abandon ship and launch all lifesaving appliances in an emergency. 60+ life rafts and 3 lifeboats were not used. Is it normal practice of the Costa company? Didn't the Master - Schettino - (and his many colleagues, who do not assist Schettino in court) know that he (they) must have a full crew aboard? Why has this serious matter not been analyzed by the experts, judges and counsels in the court?
There are only three indictments or accusations of Schettino; manslaughter, causing a shipwreck (?) and abandoning the vessel, while many (>300?) of its 4 252 passengers and crew were still aboard. In what order the three crimes took place is not clear. Did Schettino first kill people aboard, then sink the ship and did he then finally run away?
The strategy of Schettino appeared to be very simple (and stupid).
Forget the four questions above putting everybody in the shit and concentrate on Schettino's alleged abandoning the vessel 14 January, 2012, by jumping onto the roof of a lifeboat. Forget that the Italian Marine Casualties Investigative Body's Incident Investigation report suggests that it was the helmsman that caused the contact with the rock, etc. Forget the ship owner's responsibilities and that the ship was not seaworthy.
It seems better only to establish that Schettino stayed aboard until the end. It was short sighted strategy.
His four witnesses attending 21 January, 2015, no doubt confirmed that Schettino stayed on the ship, until it suddenly capsized 00.34 hrs and that the capsize was a surprise for Schettino that was assisting with the evacuation as best he could. The evacuation and abandon ship were evidently a mess! Too much for Schettino! He was not really trained for it. It was not his fault. He was appointed by the ship owner to keep the passengers happy, etc. The last witness, the 1st/chief officer on Costa Concordia responsible for actual abandon ship operations, will probably confirm that Schettino lost control in the end. Maybe one reason was that plenty crew members were not aboard, but it cannot be said.
The capsize - the second incident - then caused the third incident - the shipwreck - killing people, which you cannot blame Schettino for. Forget that the ship was not seaworthy without crew or complement to launch lifesaving appliances when abandon ship, etc. Let third parties' sue the ship owner for those defects.
The shipwreck! According to the ship owner there is no wreck, only a damaged, water filled ship kept floating by sponsons that will be recycled at Italy.
We will thus not know the answers of the four questions above at this show trial. Welcome to Italy!
Weeks #4 - 7 2015, i.e. 22 January - 10 February, 2015 were then reserved for summing up the case.
All parties; the Italian prosecution and its new chief prosecutor Alessandro Leopizzi, assisted by Maria Navarro, various counsels of families of victims, survivors, ship owner Costa Cruises and the Tuscany region (it (read the Mafia) wants ¬30.000.000:- in damages to the local economy from Schettino) want to talk. Finally, the counsel of Francesco Schettino 5/9 February summarized their opinions about these indictments/accusations, so that the judges Giovanni Puliatti & Co can decide.
The Italian prosecution or any third party incl. the ship owner had so far not shown, in my opinion, that the Master alone is guilty of any crimes. The prosecution has stated that some court appointed experts have concluded that the ship was safe and seaworthy with 25 watertight doors in the hull and manned by properly trained crew, while it is easy to show - as done in my analysis below - that it was not the case. You should wonder why the court appoints such incompetent experts. Is it part of a conspiracy?
Alessandro Leopizzi, the prosecutor, evidently tried to show that Schettino abandoned a seaworthy ship early and has been lying about his staying behind until capsize.
Alessandro Leopizzi is just doing his job. Evidently he cannot suggest that Schettino killed 32 persons and sank the ship himself, because these two crimes were due to the capsize that took place later after Schettino had left the ship. And Schettino didn't cause the not seaworthy ship to capsize. No, only way to jail Schettino is to suggest that Schettino left the not seaworthy ship early, e.g. using no. 1 (starboard) lifeboat, reserved for the Master. It would be easy. Just interview the crew of no. 1 lifeboat. It hasn't been done? Strange.
Alessandro Leopizzi spent a lot of time suggesting that Schettino lied about everything including the strange 13 January, 2012, 21.45 hrs 'contact' that ripped open the hull. As the Voyage Data Recorder (black box) was for reasons not explained disconnected during the relevant time ahead of impact and bridge Voice Recorder provides very strange noise - voices? - nobody really knows what happened - speeds, courses, ship positions, rudder positions prior the 'contact' - all is unclear and what various experts suggest in reports do not add up, e.g. it is suggested rudder is turned ... but the course does not change. All the fault of the lying Master ... of course. I really feel sorry for Schettino.
Alessandro Leopizzi Friday 23 January spent 6 hours describing the chaotic abandon ship event of >4 100 persons and said that a couple of passengers had seen Schettino leaving the ship already between 00.15 and 00.25 hrs. No mention of no. 1 lifeboat, though. No muster stations, no orderly lowering of lifeboats and life rafts, just confusion. Was the ship seaworthy? Forget it!
Alessandro Leopizzi did not seem to know that the abandon ship system or procedure, described in a muster list, is part of the ship's International Safety Management, ISM, system/code described and implemented by the ship owner and approved by the maritime authority ... and normally supervised by the Chief Officer, i.e. not the Master. I describe it below.
Alessandro Leopizzi seemed to believe that the Master is God aboard and does everything and anything ... and nothing aboard. But ships' safety is team work ... under the ship owner and international law. A real, responsible ship owner cannot according ISM delegate safety to the Master's whims. Everything is agreed and described and documented beforehand according the ISM code incl. a Procedures Manual that documents what is done on board the ship, during normal operations and in emergency situations and summarized in a muster list, so that every crew member knows what to do in emergencies, e.g. groundings, collisions, abandon ship and fires. The ISM Code is very clear, e.g.;
8 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Note that it is the Company and not the master that should establish the emergency preparedness procedures. The master just ensures that the ship goes from A to B as per Company orders and procedures and is very busy with it. The Company should also provide the people aboard. Therefore
6 RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL
It is quite clear that the Company, i.e. the ship owner is responsible for the safety aboard. Isn't it strange that the ship owner is not in court? No, he apparently paid the judges and the prosecutors ... . Welcome to Italy.
Alessandro Leopizzi was Monday 26 January supposed to continue talking and talking forgetting that a million words cannot replace some real evidence. But his show was over.
Maria Navarro, assistant prosecutor, took over: she requested that the judge condemn Schettino to 14 years in jail for having killed Ms Dayana Arlotti 5 years old at the time. Dayana Arlotti drowned after the ship capsized but Schettino had prevented her from using a lifeboat or something, we were told. Or was it her father that went to pick up his medicine not following instructions? There is no evidence that Schettino killed Dayana Arlotti.
Maria Navarro also asked the court to add another 9 years to the sentence because Schettino had sunk the ship himself after the capsize, i.e. not closed the illegal watertight doors or stopped the down-flooding of intact hull compartments. There is no evidence that Schettino sank the ship. The ship sank due to down-flooding of the hull. A contributing factor was that the ship was not seaworthy with illegal watertight doors, etc.
Maria Navarro didn't stop talking, talking more words, words. Another 3 years should be added to the sentence because Schettino had intentionally (!) delayed the order to abandon ship for x minutes, while reviewing the situation (as per ISM?). But there is no evidence that Schettino didn't follow the Company ISM procedures. But we don't know the details of the Company ISM. Isn't it strange?
Maria Navarro could not be stopped! Another 3 months jail should be added because Schettino had lied about what happened to the investigators/police afterwards. So 26 years, 3 months jail for Schettino was requested. Schettino will not be shot! There was however no evidence that Schettino lied as suggested. The opposite was just an invention of Maria Navarro. You wonder how a normal human being can be as evil as Maria Navarro.
Francesco Verusio retired on 16 January 2015 and I understand now why he did it. He could not read all these stupid words, accusations and requests without any evidence and remain serious.
Media do not really report what happens in court. Only the request of 26 years, 3 months jail. But the below is interesting:
"Remember that no one died in the impact, but 32 people have lost their lives for the inaccurate management of the emergency and malfunctions on the ship"
Massimiliano Gabrielli, a lawyer representing victims' families, told dpa. Gabrielli is right. The ship was not seaworthy at departure lacking crew to handle an emergency after an accidental incident and the ship owner is responsible. The insurance was not valid. The Master should never have allowed the ship to sail ... but did it. The Italian maritime administration should have stopped the ship. But it is easier just to blame the Master appointed by the Company/ship owner.
The Company/ship owner is personally not present in court. But the Company's/ship owner's four counsels are: Me Marco De Luca, Laura Miani, Ottavio Malugani and Simona Brizz. They do not like Massimiliano Gabrielli blaming the absent ship owner.
Tuesday 27 - Friday 30 January various counsels were allowed to plead but didn't understand the case that only the responsibility of Schettino is under review, or as the ship owner's counsel Marco De Luca said:
"The dignity and honour of the commander (Schettino) is to assume all the responsibilities of his colleagues and their subordinates."
Me Marco De Luca has not understood that not only the dignity and honour of the Company/ship owner is to assume all the responsibilities of his master and his subordinates, but that is also a requirement of the law.
This is an interesting case. I have, e.g. 13/01/15 suggested to Mr. Nick Savvides" <email@example.com>, chief editor of The Naval Architect, TNA, magazine to write about it but Nick doesn't can or want to do it:
"Hello Anders, Thanks very much for your update on the Costa Concordia, it is very interesting. Unfortunately I cannot write anything on this subject as it is outside of my remit for The Naval Architect."
So what is a remit?
The remit for TNA is to report on new vessel designs specifically and the shipbuilding industry in general.
What a remit of God! Media do not like safety at sea.
It appears that it is and was very difficult to make such a big ship as M/S Costa Concordia seaworthy. It is possible that it is impossible to ensure that these big passenger ships really are seaworthy due to their design. But media will not write about it. Easier is to blame the master. It is a show!
The counsels of Schettino were Thursday 5, Friday 6 and Monday 9 February 2015 summing up the case. Three days! They needed only 30 minutes to show that Schettino was not guilty of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel. The 13 January 2012 contact was an accident caused by the helmsman - crew negligence? - and Schettino stayed on the ship until it capsized. The ship sank and people drowned 14 January 2012 due to the capsize. Schettino tried his best.
Evidently a shipmaster does not decide everything alone in an emergency aboard. There should have been an emergency plan for different types of incidents available, where all officers and crew aboard have their assigned functions. Amazingly we do not know if such a plan existed and if it were followed. Only one thing appears certain. There was confusion aboard before, during and after all the incidents. Isn't it obvious that the shipping company was and still is not competent to operate ships? No! This was a show trial, Moscow style. The Master must play his role as a stupid women lover running around with a bag full of money or drugs!
I was wondering if Schettino were going to admit that the ship was not seaworthy at departure 13 January 2012 and that he committed the fault to depart. I was wondering, if he were going to inform that in retrospect he missed that the crew was not complete to execute an abandon ship exercise - the Company had allowed some crew for vacation and not sent proper replacement. I was wondering if Schettino were going to mention the watertight doors. Did they sink the ship? Regardless, they were not permitted by SOLAS rules. And was the Company mustering system really good? Two muster stations? For >4?100 persons? And did some crew steal the Masters no. 1 lifeboat? And why weren't all life rafts used?
It seems Schettino never mentioned all these defects. Nor did he mention that the responsibility that a ship is seaworthy is that of the owning Company or the ship owner and, if the ship is not seaworthy, the insurance is not valid! The owning Company or the ship owner is then responsible for any losses incurred during the trip. It will cost the Company a fortune, its reputation will be lost forever. The Company will no doubt be bankrupt! Maybe insurance will get their money back?
It would actually be very good! A new company will buy the assets and try to operate seaworthy, if it is possible. I doubt it. The whole concept with a weekly cruise, where 20% of passengers join and depart every day or every second day in a port, is stupid.
All parties (and media) have quietly so far avoided the question of seaworthiness. It seems they want to protect the owning Company or the ship owner.
Schettino had previously said (see section 6 below):
"This is a conspiracy to convict the captain (me) when the core team (the ship owner) made the erroneous decisions together."
The conspirators want to see Schettino rot in jail 26 years 3 months. In consequence counsel of Schettino needed three days to present Schettino's defence. Apparently they didn't get any inspiration from the information on this web site. I hate to see an innocent Master Mariner being sent to jail. Better jail the incompetent directors of the Company and, why not, the ship owners themselves that conspire against the Master.
11 February 2015 the judges/court found Schettino guilty of something and sentenced him to 16 years 1 month jail! Luckily not to be shot. It is a show, Moscow style, trial! Or Mafia style! Just to protect the Italian state and its servants. Italy is presently going bankrupt (like Greece) and one reason is the corrupt Italian judicial system. So easier to blame an innocent Master. But he will never spend a night in jail anyway. It is a show! Schettino is just playing his role. Stupid master with incompetent legal advisers.
Schettino and ship owner Costa Croisières (not present in court (sic)) were also condemned to pay together various damages:
¬7.8 million to passengers and crew, ¬5.3 million to various departments of the state of Italy investigating the alleged crimes and assisting the fiasco wreck removal, ¬0.3 million to Isola del Giglio, ¬0.045 million to various consumers/environmental protection groups and ¬0.03 million to Ms Domnica Cemortan, friend of Schettino.
Schettino will of course appeal and the Italian comedy show trial will go on and on - the second act in a higher court. So that the illusion of law and order and an innocent, incompetent American ship owner ashore and perfect (or whatever) safety at sea in Italian waters can be maintained. The winners are the criminal ship owner and the incompetent Italian maritime authorities and the losers, apart from Schettino, are future passengers of cheap, unsafe cruises, but they don't care, and serious people concerned about safety at sea ... that nobody listens to. And Italy goes down the drain. Just look what happens at Genoa!
I had hoped that the court would acquit Schettino based on the fact that the prosecutor had not shown any real evidence to support the three accusations - just plenty words and unrelated testimonies about confusion aboard after an accidental contact. Evidently no master sails around sinking ship, killing people and then abandon ship. The Italian justice system would then have been saved. It didn't happen and safety at sea is not improved. For that you need to educate the ship owners about their responsibilities. Now they just take advantage of a weak Italian state. What a stupid show!
The complete, in writing judgement with detailed arguments and evidences against Schettino will not be available until 11 May, 2015 (and reported here)! In the meantime Schettino is a free to move around. Only really dangerous criminals, Mafiosi and terrorists are locked up in Italy awaiting similar, written clarifications and it seems Schettino is neither. Schettino was just a charming Italian appointed Master of a cheap, unsafe, not seaworthy cruise ship. The ship owner is very upset about it!
International Business Times has September 30, 2014, fairly correctly summarized the case:
"Schettino is on trial over the shipwreck that killed 32 people. Prosecutors allege he steered the ship too close to the island of Giglio to perform a sail-past salute, causing the liner hit a rock, become flooded, and then capsize. The captain has also been accused of dithering in ordering the evacuation, which he then failed to coordinate properly as he allegedly abandoned the ship with hundreds still on board. He is facing up to 20 years in jail on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning ship. He is the sole defendant and denies the charges."
The cruise vessel sank 14 January, 2012, outside Isola del Giglio, when 32 persons drowned, after an accidental contact 13 January, 2012. So far we have heard a lot of accusations but seen no evidence that, e.g., the ship was seaworthy and properly manned.
People at the University La Sapienza of Rome, professor Vincenzo Mastronardi and Ivan Paduano, had 5 July 2014 presented at a seminary a "reconstruction of the critical events 13/14 January 2012 of the M/S Costa Concordia with the help of 3D graphics" done by Paduano. The Master of the ship was invited to comment upon the presentation and participate in the discussion at the Club House Aeronautica dell'Aviatore of Rome. It appears that Mastronardi and Paduano presented something else than the official conspiracy theory promoted by the authorities in media and at the trial. The authorities therefore have protested against the presentation and its publication.
The ship owner, the maritime authorities,
the Italian government and mainstream media, incl.
suggest that 32 persons died on 13 January, 2012,
when the ship collided and grounded due to an
incompetent Master. It is 100% wrong.
The ship neither collided
nor grounded anywhere. During a
planned turn of the cheap cruise to salute
the island there was an accidental
contact, a total surprise to all aboard,
causing hull leakage and up-flooding of a
generator room in turn causing a
black-out but the damaged ship was
floating and stable and the Master was
relieved - his ship could be towed to safety and be
repaired after the passengers and staff had
abandoned the ship that had lost power. The vessel however sank
on 14 January after having capsized
and the first question to ask, when a ship
surprisingly capsizes and sinks, is
evidently, apart from finding out the cause of the
capsize: "Was the ship seaworthy?"
(È la nave navigabile?) The question is never asked by
experts and media incl. the IMO/MSC
since the M/S Costa Concordia capsize and
sinking but, asked ... by me here ... the reply
is: "No." The Italian public will not be
told this or anything like it. The Italian public
and the rest of the world are informed since 2012
that whatever happened, collision,
grounding, or?, was just the fault of the
stupid, incompetent, ladies man in charge aboard
and responsible for everything, Captain
An Italian! Source:
The ship neither collided nor grounded anywhere. During a planned turn of the cheap cruise to salute the island there was an accidental contact, a total surprise to all aboard, causing hull leakage and up-flooding of a generator room in turn causing a black-out but the damaged ship was floating and stable and the Master was relieved - his ship could be towed to safety and be repaired after the passengers and staff had abandoned the ship that had lost power.
The vessel however sank on 14 January after having capsized and the first question to ask, when a ship surprisingly capsizes and sinks, is evidently, apart from finding out the cause of the capsize:
"Was the ship seaworthy?" (È la nave navigabile?)
The question is never asked by experts and media incl. the IMO/MSC since the M/S Costa Concordia capsize and sinking but, asked ... by me here ... the reply is:
The Italian public will not be told this or anything like it. The Italian public and the rest of the world are informed since 2012 that whatever happened, collision, grounding, or?, was just the fault of the stupid, incompetent, ladies man in charge aboard and responsible for everything, Captain Francesco Schettino. An Italian!
A not seaworthy ship capsizes and sinks and people drown on 14 January, 2012, and the local and national maritime authorities and the ship owner establish that it is the fault of the Master ... alone (apart from five other, innocent persons) ... and that it happened on 13 January, 2012, ... the day before ... when there was only an accidental contact. And the IMO/MSC people (all anonymous clowns) agree and forget to establish, if the ship was seaworthy and built and certified as per SOLAS ... and support the immoral, unfounded, invented and criminal accusation that it was all the fault of the Master. The IMO wreck is sinking itself ... again. Doesn't IMO know that there must be sufficient and trained crew on a ship to, e.g. launch life rafts, and that you cannot have 25 watertight doors? Even worse, when the Marine Safety Committee of the IMO twice asks the Italian Maritime Authority 2012/2013 to provide more information about the incidents and when the Italian Maritime authority 2013/2014 twice ignores the requests and nothing happens and nobody reacts incl. media for several years, you wonder what is going on. A conspiracy ... as suggested by the Master Francesco Schettino?
That's why it is important that the "reconstruction of the critical events 13/14 January 2012 of the M/S Costa Concordia with the help of 3D graphics" done by Paduano July 2014 is allowed to be published and discussed openly.
It is a re-run of the M/S Estonia mysterious sinking in the open Baltic Sea September 1994, another Heiwa Co special interest. Then the Estonian Captain Arvo Andresson and 850+ others drowned, so it was decided by corrupt clowns ashore, one married to an Italian woman today, that the sinking was the fault of the deaf Captain alone sailing too fast, so that the bow visor fell off in severe weather that nobody heard allowing the superstructure >2 meters above waterline to be filled with water, blah, blah. The question asked by me: "Was the M/S Estonia seaworthy?" was never officially clarified, because the ship wasn't. The public was just told lies by the authorities backed up by te media and to fuck off. The IMO/MSC was sleeping as usual (or part of the Estonia conspiracy thanks to Mr. Franson?). It seems the Italians have learnt from M/S Estonia! Just invent anything, e.g. all is the fault of the Master and silence anybody suggesting it is fake. 2015 will be interesting. The Italian mafia style cover-up succeeded 2015 and the Master will rot in jail until 2031.
But many third parties are still not happy. Hopefully they will sue the ship owner for sending a not seaworthy ship to sea.
This show will continue.
In order to assist the reader to understand the basics of ships floating and sinking and damaged ship removal and safety at sea in general some definitions of words used in this article are given again:
(*The Swedish Maritime Authority, Sjöfartsverket, believes that all deck houses are watertight and that a ship like M/S Estonia floats on the deck house. Same authority also believes it is normal practice that passengers jump into the sea and swim ashore when their ship sinks.)
3. Why Captain Schettino of M/S Costa Concordia is not guilty of any crimes
Mainstream media trumpet and many people believe that the Master of a passenger ship with >1 000 crew and >3 000 passengers is responsible for everything aboard, including the ship's safe and efficient navigation, cargo, hotel, catering, food, casino, entertainment, health, crew management, etc., onboard operations. It is further believed by ignorant persons/media that the Master alone ensures that the vessel complies with local and international laws, as well as company and flag state policies and that all persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under his authority and are his ultimate responsibility. The Master happens to be the ship owner's representative aboard and ensures that the policies of the ship owner defined by ISM and other orders are adhered to. The ship owner is evidently responsible that the ship is seaworthy and complies with local and international laws and flag state policies, i.e. is correctly built, equipped and certified. The ship owner appoints and pays the Master, all officers, crew and staff and is responsible that they are properly trained. The ship owner is responsible that the condition of the hull and the equipment is in order. You cannot expect the Master appointed for a limited time aboard to, e.g., personally inspect the double bottom or fuel tanks for corrosion and cracks, etc., which remains the responsibility of the ship owner using appointed experts to assist. But it is easy to blame the Master for anything going wrong on the ship ... even accidents. Irresponsible ship owners like to do it ... assisted by mainstream media.
The ship owner must ensure and is responsible that the ship is seaworthy. That responsibility cannot be delegated to a Master. The ship owner of M/S Costa Concordia, Mickey Arison, CEO of Carnival Corp. and owner of Costa quietly retired in July 2013 and has not been questioned about his responsibilities ... or lack of same. It is very strange. The investigators do not question the person in charge of safety and seaworthiness of the ship!
Any ship shall be correctly designed, maintained with all equipment in working order, certified and provided with skilled and trained crew including a Master that represents the ship owner. The work descriptions and operational procedures aboard are developed and decided by the ship owner. The maritime authority and other companies verify the condition of the ship and equipment and the proficiency of the crew and that procedures are followed. If they find anything wrong aboard, they inform the ship owner's representative aboard, i.e., the Master that informs the ship owner. The Master cannot, e.g., fix cracks in the double bottom, etc. And nobody evidently certifies that the ship is seaworthy, which remains the responsibility of the ship owner. When an incident occurs for any reason, it is a good idea to ask the ship owner and the staff ashore to show that the ship was seaworthy. Strangely it has not been done in the M/S Costa Concordia case.
In the M/S Costa Concordia case there was an accidental contact ripping open the hull - ship didn't safely turn as planned for unclear reasons - and four watertight hull compartments were up flooded. There was a black out but ship was otherwise safe. It was decided to abandon ship and bring passengers home. The abandon ship was not complete due to lack of trained crew aboard and proper instructions to passengers. The ship was in this respect not seaworthy. The damaged ship started to heel interrupting abandon ship and suddenly the ship capsized almost three hours after the contact. Capsize was due to progressive flooding of intact hull compartments through illegal watertight doors reducing stability to zero. The ship was incorrectly built and not seaworthy. The not seaworthy ship then sank due to down flooding, when 32 persons still aboard drowned.
After the first incident the Master followed all the instructions given by the ship owner but, as the ship was not seaworthy in many respects, the ship capsized and later sank and 32 persons drowned. The responsible party for the later incidents caused by ship not being seaworthy is evidently the ship owner. Assisted by incompetent maritime authorities and agents of all kind that should have stopped the ship in port.
March 2014 we were told regarding M/S Costa Concordia that:
The criminal investigation and trial about guilt and responsibility of the M/S Costa Concordia incidents 13 and 14 January 2012 were heating up in March 2014. So far we had only heard the prosecutors' fantasies.
The results of a
court-ordered inspection of
the ship (see below) that took place end February
2014 are not known or reported. Instead alternative
(normal media have nothing to say because they
haven't been told what to report) reported from the
show trial early March 2014 that: Foschi was lying in
court. Foschi doesn't know anything about
safety at sea. He has worked in the elevator
business most of his life and probably got the job
at Costa for that reason. If you get stuck in an
elevator, it is your own fault. Would you
buy a cheap cruise from this
The results of a court-ordered inspection of the ship (see below) that took place end February 2014 are not known or reported. Instead alternative media (normal media have nothing to say because they haven't been told what to report) reported from the show trial early March 2014 that:
Foschi was lying in court. Foschi doesn't know anything about safety at sea. He has worked in the elevator business most of his life and probably got the job at Costa for that reason. If you get stuck in an elevator, it is your own fault.
Would you buy a cheap cruise from this person?
But who is cruising with Costa any longer? A Costa 8 Jours et 7 Nuits cruise with brochure price ¬1.299 can today (14 March 2014) be bought for ¬243 - reduction 81% - but it does not make the ship seaworthy. Better is to stay ashore. And imagine - "The company (that) is not responsible for what happens on board the ship," - is just now trying to remove the ship - another fiasco!
In order to insure the ship against risks at sea the ship owner ashore must ensure that the ship is seaworthy. You cannot delegate that responsibility to, e.g. the Master, who is just an employee of the owner and represents the owner aboard.
Marine insurance transactions to protect ships against risks at sea involve several parties - ship owner, ship's master or crew, insurer/underwriter, P&I club, broker, agents, maritime authorities, salvage associations or similar, etc.
I define marine insurance fraud as:
"Marine insurance fraud occurs when one of the parties involved succeeds, unjustly or illegally, in obtaining money from another party to whom, on the face of it, he has undertaken specific obligations. A ship owner, as an example, having insured a ship subject to it being seaworthy and later, after an incident has occurred, due to ship not being seaworthy, blames the ship's master is committing marine insurance fraud."
Evidently a competent ship owner always supports the ship's master and crew to sort out incidents of any type.
part of the conspiracy? The former colleagues of
Captain Schettino of M/S Costa
Concordia were absent in court:
Schettino: Luciano Luffarelli,
spokesperson (sic) for
Costa Cruise lines who attended court on
Tuesday told The
Imagine if it were so easy and
indisputable and that the ship owner ashore is not
anything. Mr Luciano
Luffarelli is just a
crisis communication management PR-clown with no
knowledge of cruise shipping or safety at sea,
hired by the hour by anybody, so he was just
spreading lies inside the court. It is in fact
Luffarelli - journalist and corporate
communication expert - the company has offices in
Rome, Milan and Bologna. The agency is made up of
professionals who have worked for a long time, in
positions of responsibility, in some of the most
important groups quoted on the Italian stock
market. Luciano Luffarelli's professionals have an
approach to working based on an Anglo-Saxon style
of working, made up of long-term experience,
respect of rules, transparent information provided
Is Luciano part of the conspiracy?
The former colleagues of Captain Schettino of M/S Costa Concordia were absent in court:
Luciano Luffarelli, spokesperson (sic) for Costa Cruise lines who attended court on Tuesday told The Daily Beast:
Imagine if it were so easy and indisputable and that the ship owner ashore is not responsible for anything. Mr Luciano Luffarelli is just a crisis communication management PR-clown with no knowledge of cruise shipping or safety at sea, hired by the hour by anybody, so he was just spreading lies inside the court. It is in fact illegal!
Luciano Luffarelli - journalist and corporate communication expert - the company has offices in Rome, Milan and Bologna. The agency is made up of professionals who have worked for a long time, in positions of responsibility, in some of the most important groups quoted on the Italian stock market. Luciano Luffarelli's professionals have an approach to working based on an Anglo-Saxon style of working, made up of long-term experience, respect of rules, transparent information provided on time.
When the Schettino defence will finally present its case in court to be copied here was not known March 2014. It seems the prosecutor and media will continue the silly show with an elevator salesman and a PR-clown until December 2014 - what idiots will testify next about safety at sea?
Schettino returned to Giglio island and was back aboard the top of the sunken ship of M/S Costa Concordia outside the port on Thursday 27 February 2014.
It was one of the most important, wonderful experiences I have ever had. Getting back on that ship was one of the best things I have ever done in my life, because it will help us find the truth...
Schettino told The Daily Beast.
>70% of the ship is evidently still 30 meters below and full of water.
Schettino is the only person charged with serious, unlawful acts in connection with the very badly executed, planned 56° change of heading at the island (the Master thought it was safe) resulting in an (i) unfortunate accidental contact of the ship, when nobody died, the (ii) chaotic, incomplete abandon ship operation due to lack of trained crew and muster stations aboard, the (iii) sudden, unexpected capsize of the ship the next morning due to progressive flooding through illegal watertight doors - a surprise to the Master - and the (iv) sinking due to down flooding killing 32 persons and (v) creating a ship wreck (vi) damaging the environment. A large media group, incl. Alan Johnston of the BBC, followed Schettino on the island taking photographs and asking stupid questions not about safety at sea.
The "Blame the bad Master Schettino show" was on as usual.
The visit was otherwise
"part of a court-ordered inspection in the ongoing trial against him for multiple counts of manslaughter and abandoning ship before all the passengers had been evacuated (by the absent crew). His lawyers asked the court in Grosseto to authorize the search to determine if any factors beyond human error contributed to the disaster."
That human errors contributed to the incidents should be clear, if you study what I say below. All defects of a criminal nature were however produced ashore by ship owner and maritime administration. The ship was not seaworthy.
Schettino's lawyers said
"the investigation seeks to answer whether the ship's equipment was working correctly or whether malfunctions caused the incident, or even worsened the situation aboard the ship during the evacuation."
Actually any serious criminal or technical investigation what happened shall first just explain the proximate cause of each incident ... and shall forget about personal liability, i.e. crew, ship owner, maritime surveyors, etc. If you don't know why things happen, you cannot blame individuals for it.
"the only person on trial after four crew members and an official of the ship operator Costa Cruises were sentenced to terms of up to 34 months in prison after pleading guilty (sic) last year.
Schettino is of course innocent until the strange court - working in a theatre!! - decides otherwise, even if media and the ship owner trumpet other opinions. Several groups of experts have, cheered on by irresponsible media, already announced, without proof, in various reports that the ship was in order and all was the fault of the stupid Master but it seems these reports are now better forgotten. For strange reasons all investigations reports just blame the Master and do not establish, if the ship was seaworthy.
Evidently ship's equipment like life saving appliances was not working as crew was not available or trained to handle them or to assist passengers to abandon ship. It seems the steering gear didn't work either or the low paid, Indonesian helmsman didn't understand orders to turn given, as the planned 56° turn took much too long time to execute ending in an accidental contact, when nobody died. 25 watertight doors aboard were illegal and it seems they couldn't close permitting progressive flooding resulting in capsize. The Voyage Data Recorder that would register the vital equipment didn't work properly or was disconnected. And the ship lacked muster stations where passengers would gather to be escorted to safety.
It is quite easy to show that the ship was not seaworthy at any time ... and that Schettino cannot be held responsible for the three incidents - contact (an accident), capsize (due to progressive flooding) and sinking (due to down flooding) - as they were outside his control. The contact was a complete surprise and the capsize was caused by progressive flooding due to incorrect design, procedures and certification. The sinking was due to down flooding.
So far - after 9 months show trial - only the prosecution has presented outrageous accusations at every session forgetting to clarify (i) how the ship owner could operate such a dangerous and unsafe ship and (ii) why the Italian maritime authority and other European ports didn't stop the ship (and the sisters and similar ships) and required improvements. If you ask questions like that since January 2012, you are not politically correct and not welcome aboard and in court ... and media like Alan Johnston of the BBC will ignore you.
Media are just propaganda lies and show. Imagine that the court orders a new inspection of the ship and that this inspection is done ... and media do not report the result. Latest news, not reported by media, is that the ship will probably be subject to re-sinking (!) in 2015 after having been re-floated 2014, as the incompetent ship owner does not know what to do with it. In the meantime you can study ...
10. - 44 unpopular facts of the M/S Costa Concordia incidents the night 13-14 January 2012 and later most of which are not reported to prevent safety at sea to be improved (those marked * have never been reported by media)
Above points and much more are explained below.
Cruise ship safety at sea was suddenly hot stuff in the USA March 2014! The people below were made aware of the points above:
Cruise shipping safety at
sea and above points should be discussed at the
Communications Cruise Shipping Miami 2014
Conference 10-14 March
2014. Of particular interest is the
Tuesday 9.30 a.m. session about the global cruise
industry's ongoing efforts to improve shipboard
safety at sea. The panellists will review
and discuss how ship owners and maritime
authorities are working on continuously enhancing
safety standards ignoring input from concerned
experts. Panellists include Dracos
of Maritime Safety/Director of the Ship Research
at Sea, who is well
known to have produced false explanations of the
loss of buoyancy, capsize and sinking of both
Costa Concordia, two
vessels being not seaworthy at any time,
which Vassalos refuses to recognize. Vassalos
latest input will not be reported here as it has
not been made public. The US National
Board, NTSB, held a
public forum on cruise ship safety at sea
March 25-26, in Washington, DC,
USA: ... the forum's goal is to
encourage dialogue among industry stakeholders,
regulators and the general public to better
understand cruise ship safety at
sea." It was interesting to see how
public forum handled
above points of not seaworthy M/S Costa
Concordia handed in to them. It was not done at
all! No mention of illegal watertight doors and
incompetent crews. NTSB does not mention them in
Cruise shipping safety at sea and above points should be discussed at the Seatrade Communications Cruise Shipping Miami 2014 Conference 10-14 March 2014.
Of particular interest is the Tuesday 9.30 a.m. session about the global cruise industry's ongoing efforts to improve shipboard safety at sea. The panellists will review and discuss how ship owners and maritime authorities are working on continuously enhancing safety standards ignoring input from concerned experts. Panellists include Dracos Vassalos, Professor of Maritime Safety/Director of the Ship Research Centre, University of Strathclyde/Chairman, Safety at Sea, who is well known to have produced false explanations of the loss of buoyancy, capsize and sinking of both M/S Estonia and M/S Costa Concordia, two vessels being not seaworthy at any time, which Vassalos refuses to recognize. Vassalos latest input will not be reported here as it has not been made public.
The US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, held a public forum on cruise ship safety at sea March 25-26, in Washington, DC, USA:
... the forum's goal is to encourage dialogue among industry stakeholders, regulators and the general public to better understand cruise ship safety at sea."
It was interesting to see how the NTSB public forum handled above points of not seaworthy M/S Costa Concordia handed in to them. It was not done at all! No mention of illegal watertight doors and incompetent crews. NTSB does not mention them in this video either!
12. A video about the Italian Love Boat Costa Concordia fuck up January 2012
This (English) stupid/fake video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MtWxnRBVvg ) is a good example of the fraud that is called the M/S Costa Concordia collision. Watch it and learn how you can be manipulated by pictures glued together in no order. And that safety at sea needs to be improved ... by being prepared.
Note that there are no safety announcements from departing several ports prior the incident. You would expect the passengers to film mustering, etc. Mustering and safety is fun! But there is nothing. It was never done. The ship owner forgot it. The ship was not seaworthy. Three hours before the collision (sic) the weather was very good (at 9.22 in the video)! But look at the passengers! Do you really want to cruise with landlubbers like that? They think they are ashore at Disneyland. Look at the Master representing the ship owner having fun with the passengers. The Master does not steer the ship.
Note (at 12.09 in the video) that nothing has dropped from the tables due to the alleged collision or hitting a rock (actually an accidental contact!). The ship is up right and diners are leaving the tables. The emergency light is on. This is apparently after the black out that caused panic. The passengers and staff have no idea what to do! Go out? Where? Jump into the sea? There are various announcements on the ship's intercom loudspeakers. People are (13.59) walking around. The ship is stable. Passengers calm down again. No panic any more. You can walk in the stairways! It was not the M/S Estonia 1994. This is an Italian show! The ship is stable with no heeling and land is in sight (15.42). Schettino (16.18) "Everything is going to hell here". But the ship is up right and bartenders are still at work. Look how the ship is not tilting. The emergency lighting in the corridors is really good. Suddenly some people wear life jackets. But everything is under control. The mustering (19.40) in Italian is evidently a joke! Return to your cabins! But (at 21.30) the floating ship starts to list! Down below dry compartments are progressively flooded through illegal watertight doors. Only now at (21.21) list is >18° and things slide away. The passengers (at 23.25) are asked to go to the muster station on deck 4. But the photographer wanders around the ship. Had the ship really up flooded five hull compartments earlier, it would have capsized upside down by now and all would have died ... and no videos had been made. The video is now from the starboard side embarkation deck. At (26.22) still no lifeboats have been lowered to enable embarkation. It should have been done long ago! Same with the life rafts. (28.10) All lifeboats are full so you have to wait! (28.23) It seems lifeboats were full before being lowered to the embarkation deck. Oh my Goijd! (31.50). It adds to the action! We see some pictures from the port side. Lifeboats are very late being launched and get stuck against the side. The lifeboats should have been lowered in place an hour earlier. At (33.06) the ship has already capsized and sank. Time is 03.00 a.m. At (39.04) the ship is sunk & and it is impossible to board from sea as suggested by Italian Coast Guard. Remaining people try to get off. At (39.33) 4 000 persons were at Porto Giglio trying to find a bed. 3 000 beds were apparently provided. (40.12) Some went to church instead. Others went sightseeing visiting the people in the port. It was all the fault of one person! The Master!
But there was no collision! The ship was simply not seaworthy at any time. It was a very cheap, unsafe cruise.
In my analysis below you will find out what really happened and why and who is responsible. And it is not the Master!
On Tuesday 14 January
2014 it was exactly two years since Saturday 14
January 2012, when the unseaworthy Italian Love
Boat L/B Costa Concordia capsized and
sank outside Isola del Giglio, Italy, and we still
do not know why, except that the ship owner and
media blame the Master of the ship that he, the
Master made a fool of himself trying to do an
'inchino' in the late evening the day
before. What a show ... directed by media.
In French newspaper
January, 2014, the Master of the love boat,
Francesco Schettino, who attends every
session of the criminal trial, where he alone is
tried on charges of manslaughter, causing the
shipwreck and abandoning the vessel, while many
(>300?) of its
passengers and crew were still aboard - another
show - however asked: Schettino is evidently
right. A vessel with 25 watertight doors is not
seaworthy and not according international
safety at sea rules, SOLAS. Watertight doors are not
permitted in the hull of any ship and, when
one is fitted (you can, e.g. fit one on a
passenger ship with two engine rooms), it is
subject to very particular requirements, e.g. to be
closed all the time at sea. Incorrect watertight doors
caused the capsize of M/S Costa Concordia.
And people were left aboard due to lack of crew to
launch lifeboats and life rafts. However, you will not learn
these bad news via media today. Media today are
more rumours, show, entertainment and lies and less
news and facts and has no interest in safety at
sea. When did you ever read a serious article
about improving safety at sea? The ship is since 14 January
sealed crime zone
and nobody can enter it without Italian police
permission. Apparently a crime of some sort took
place on the ship prior or after accidental
contact and up flooding of
breached hull compartments, progressive
flooding through illegal watertight
doors of intact hull compartments causing
capsize and down flooding
leading to final sinking of the ship killing people
left aboard by the incompetent crew employed by the
ship owner. Divers were autumn 2013 opening
safes, etc. so that possessions could be reunited
On Tuesday 14 January 2014 it was exactly two years since Saturday 14 January 2012, when the unseaworthy Italian Love Boat L/B Costa Concordia capsized and sank outside Isola del Giglio, Italy, and we still do not know why, except that the ship owner and media blame the Master of the ship that he, the Master made a fool of himself trying to do an 'inchino' in the late evening the day before. What a show ... directed by media.
In French newspaper Le Figaro 11/12 January, 2014, the Master of the love boat, Francesco Schettino, who attends every session of the criminal trial, where he alone is tried on charges of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel, while many (>300?) of its 4.252 passengers and crew were still aboard - another show - however asked:
Schettino is evidently right. A vessel with 25 watertight doors is not seaworthy and not according international safety at sea rules, SOLAS.
Watertight doors are not permitted in the hull of any ship and, when one is fitted (you can, e.g. fit one on a passenger ship with two engine rooms), it is subject to very particular requirements, e.g. to be closed all the time at sea.
Incorrect watertight doors caused the capsize of M/S Costa Concordia. And people were left aboard due to lack of crew to launch lifeboats and life rafts.
However, you will not learn these bad news via media today. Media today are more rumours, show, entertainment and lies and less news and facts and has no interest in safety at sea. When did you ever read a serious article about improving safety at sea?
The ship is since 14 January 2012 a sealed crime zone and nobody can enter it without Italian police permission. Apparently a crime of some sort took place on the ship prior or after accidental contact and up flooding of breached hull compartments, progressive flooding through illegal watertight doors of intact hull compartments causing capsize and down flooding leading to final sinking of the ship killing people left aboard by the incompetent crew employed by the ship owner.
Divers were autumn 2013 opening safes, etc. so that possessions could be reunited with passengers.
It was probably a mistake that Le Figaro allowed Schettino to ask a question. Compare Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter 15/16 August 1996. Media never quote me since - Anders Björkman. And if it does it informs that I am unscientific, unintelligent, unreasonable, a self-appointed expert, spreading rumours and conspiracy theories, blah, blah, blah.
January 23, 2014, USATODAY announced:
"Experts have boarded the Costa Concordia cruise liner (sic) to investigate whether there is more to the ship's sinking than is contained in the prosecutors' case against its captain.
You wonder who these experts are and if they have studied this web page. Evidently the ship capsized and sank Jan. 14, 2012, when 32 people left behind by the crew drowned. Why cannot media get the facts right? Why cannot media do the homework and help improve safety at sea.
On 25 February 2014 we were told by Seatrade-Insider that
Franco Porcellacchia, Costa's project manager for the wreck's removal, and Capt. Camillo Casella, a Costa consultant, are under investigation for possibly entering the bridge, which has been sealed by the court.
You really wonder what is going on on the ship and its bridge.
It is not easy to improve safety at sea by explaining bad safety by bad ship owners. But I do it, anyway ...
Half an hour after midnight Saturday 14 January, 2012, the Italian flag of convenience/international register cruise ship M/S Costa Concordia capsized in shallow waters outside Isola del Giglio, Italy. The floating vessel suddenly lost stability, crashed towards the shore at ~90° heel to starboard and the floating hull was down flooded, while the top of the of ship's deckhouse was resting a little away from the shore on the sharp rocks of a coral reef PA aft at ~6 meters depth and on other sharp rocks of another coral reef forward PF at ~8 meters depth. The two coral reefs were ~150 meters apart. Water in between was much deeper:
At 00.35 hrs onwards 14 January 2012 capsized M/S Costa Concordia was still floating on its hull with 90° heel with the deckhouse resting on two coral reefs PA and PF a little off the shore of Isola del Giglio, while the hull was down flooded and the ship was sinking, i.e. losing buoyancy. Note that ship was trimming on the stern at this time. Evidently there was no grounding before capsize occurred, because a ship aground cannot capsize. The ship starboard bilge had just touched coral reef PA and maybe PF a little. Bow anchors had been let go.
>300 persons were still aboard at this time, most of them on the flat upper side trying to get off. People still inside the ship had a hard time. Floors had become walls and you could not climb any stairs. They were trapped! Later the hull was further down flooded and the ship sank to a depth of 30 meters on the two coral reefs and slid away from shore on the sloping reefs ripping apart the hull aft and forward. During sinking the deck house was submerged and internal air escaped through openings in the port, upper side. In the final sunk position at say 03.00 hrs the ship was trimming on the bow as PF is deeper than PA with port side sloping away from shore.
A trainee officer of the ship, Stefano Iannelli, has November 2013 confirmed that the ship's Master F. Schettino just got away from the ship, when it capsized:
"... We had formed a human chain, so as not to slip ... I was part of the Tango India support team and we helped at least five injured people. When I could no longer see any passengers, I went with Schettino and four others and we found a lifeboat ... I jumped on its roof. Schettino had jumped on just before me. As soon as the lifeboat set off, the ship rolled over and the deck we had been on sank underwater".
It would be interesting to know why at least five people were injured at this time (00.33 hrs) and on top of which lifeboat Iannelli and Schettino jumped just before the January 14, 2012, capsize. Maybe it happened at the starboard, forward life raft station, where there was a deadly mess with an already launched lifeboat in the water below? Schettino is accused of having abandoned ship long before it capsized and sank.
Most people remaining aboard at this time - ~300 persons - were on the open embarkation deck port side. Three lifeboats were still in the davits and useless. No crew had launched them. The 30+ life rafts were another useless mess. Nobody to launch them, too. All those poor people were trapped ... abandoned by crew and ship owner to die.
At capsize they were thrown back against the inside wall of the embarkation deck, if they were there, that then became a floor. By luck they found means to climb up 5 meters to the open, flat, port side of the capsized ship. From there they then had to save themselves: some found rope ladders on the side and could climb down to assisting boats. Some jumped into the water 15 meters below and were picked up by boats and a few were apparently picked up by Italian rescue helicopters. Exact details are not known as nobody has bothered to describe the drama. The Italian investigation report about the event has nothing to say ... except it was the fault of the Master.
The ship's hull sank on
the sloping rocky sea floor with ~65° heel and
slid down and away from shore while its starboard
side was being cut open forward and aft until
coming to rest at 30 meters depth with ~30% of the
ship above water as seen right. 32 people drowned
incl. 26 passengers. It happened early morning 14
January, 2012. It
could easily have been
prevented! According Italian legal
authorities the Master of the ship, Francesco
Schettino, is responsible for A) causing a ship
wreck, B) manslaughter (of 32 persons) and C)
abandoning the ship before evacuation was complete.
A show trial started 16 July 2013 at
Grosseto, Italy, and lasts until March 2014.
There will be 65+ (!) day sessions in court over
nine months to demonstrate that Schettino is guilty
as charged. Until then Schettino must of
course be considered innocent. At the trial
at Grosseto during
2013 the prosecution hasn't shown any evidence that
Schettino is guilty of A, B and C above! Or that
the ship was seaworthy! The M/S
Costa Concordia morning January 14, 2012. Did the
Captain Francesco Schettino alone really
produce this situation killing people? Note the
port stabilizer fin pointing up in the air
below the middle of three lifeboats not
being launched. Note the
life rafts still hanging in the port cranes forward
and aft. Why weren't they dropped into the water
and released? Three
lifeboats on port side were also still in the
davits. Why? No skilled crew launching them (or
the davits didn't work?) Normally it takes a few
minutes to lower a lifeboat stored in a davit to
the embarkation deck. After the lifeboat is filled
with 150 persons, it takes just seconds to lower it
into the water. But it was not done three
times aboard Costa Concordia and no
explanations are given. Lifeboats
that could have saved 450 persons and life rafts
that could have saved 1 000 persons were not
used. Was it the fault of the ship's Master or ...
the ship owner?
The ship's hull sank on the sloping rocky sea floor with ~65° heel and slid down and away from shore while its starboard side was being cut open forward and aft until coming to rest at 30 meters depth with ~30% of the ship above water as seen right. 32 people drowned incl. 26 passengers.
It happened early morning 14 January, 2012. It could easily have been prevented!
According Italian legal authorities the Master of the ship, Francesco Schettino, is responsible for A) causing a ship wreck, B) manslaughter (of 32 persons) and C) abandoning the ship before evacuation was complete. A show trial started 16 July 2013 at Grosseto, Italy, and lasts until March 2014. There will be 65+ (!) day sessions in court over nine months to demonstrate that Schettino is guilty as charged. Until then Schettino must of course be considered innocent.
At the trial at Grosseto during 2013 the prosecution hasn't shown any evidence that Schettino is guilty of A, B and C above! Or that the ship was seaworthy!
The M/S Costa Concordia morning January 14, 2012. Did the Captain Francesco Schettino alone really produce this situation killing people? Note the port stabilizer fin pointing up in the air below the middle of three lifeboats not being launched.
Note the life rafts still hanging in the port cranes forward and aft. Why weren't they dropped into the water and released?
Three lifeboats on port side were also still in the davits. Why? No skilled crew launching them (or the davits didn't work?) Normally it takes a few minutes to lower a lifeboat stored in a davit to the embarkation deck. After the lifeboat is filled with 150 persons, it takes just seconds to lower it into the water. But it was not done three times aboard Costa Concordia and no explanations are given.
Lifeboats that could have saved 450 persons and life rafts that could have saved 1 000 persons were not used. Was it the fault of the ship's Master or ... the ship owner?
Photo: Anders Björkman xxxxxxx
In December 2013 it was announced that the capsized/sunk ship, that was up-righted 16 September, 2013, but still resting at 30 meters depth will be re-floated and towed away June, 2014, by emptying 30 buoyancy tanks/sponsons attached to the hull.
The original plan presented May 2012 had promised re-floating and tow away May 2013 with >400 salvage specialists working 24/24 and 7/7 for a year but that plan was a fiasco. (December 2013) very few people worked with the salvage. Maybe some divers try to reinforce the damaged hull underwater so that it can be re-floated at all? Otherwise the ship will just remain in place. It - or its top deck house above water - could in fact be used as a hotel, if the black/grey water system is repaired! Electricity and clean water is already available.
Two hours and 45 minutes earlier, on 13 January, 2012, there had been an accidental contact between a submerged rock, maybe >100 meters off the island and six meters below water, and the ship hull. We are told that the ship was under way close to the island and executing a planned 56° starboard change of heading by turning the rudders.
Nobody died at the 8 seconds accidental contact. The port aft vertical side of the ship hull (below water) was ripped open over 36.5 meters and four hull compartments above the double bottom were up flooded. The double bottom was generally intact.
The M/S Costa Concordia remained stable and floating after the contact. But ~3 200 passengers aboard got worried, we are told. They had to interrupt dining and wining in the restaurants, watching the Magic Show in the theatre, losing money in the casino or drinking in the bars. What exactly led to the accidental contact of the ship with a hidden rock and who is responsible are 24 months later not clarified. It would however appear that the vessel was not seaworthy.
After the 13 January, it was a Friday, 2012 contact there was time to be clever and to rescue people and assets.
But in the almost 3 hours time between the accidental contact and the capsize incidents the ship's crew, responsible for the safety of the passengers, failed to
It seems none of >1 000 crew/staff members aboard knew that in any critical situation they should just tell passengers to proceed to their muster stations for further info. Best via their cabins to put on warm clothing, collect valuables, ID cards, life-jackets, etc. It seems nobody employed aboard knew what to do in an emergency. And both the criminal and the incident expert investigations done in Italy 2012 do not mention the matter! They just blame the Master. In lieu of trying to establish what really happened.
It seems nobody employed aboard knew what to do in an emergency.
What kind of ship was it? And what about the other ships operated by the ship owner?
M/S Costa Concordia was a strange ship. Like all her sister ships and similar ships.
The emergency actions should have been more or less automatic and should have taken maximum 60 minutes after review of situation had been completed and the proper order was given by the Master but you need ~300 trained crewmembers and hotel staff to abandon a cruise vessel and all of them were not aboard! And the rest didn't know anything.
Another problem was that most passengers didn't know what a muster station was ... and that no real muster stations existed aboard. One or two muster stations where >2 000 persons gather is not really a muster station. Photos of and testimonies from the abandon ship indicate great confusion due to lack of muster stations and crew/staff to handle them.
From the Italian incident analysis report we learn however:
"At 22.33.26 hrs the "general emergency" alarm is raised."&
This was 52 minutes after the contact incident. Ship was evidently floating and stable and not heeling then. Master and officers had reviewed the situation.
Under normal circumstances all passengers and staff should then collect their personal belongings, put on warm clothing and life jacket and proceed to the allocated muster station.
At the same time allocated crew members lower the lifeboats to the embarkation deck level, so that passengers can embark. Same with the life rafts - they are hooked up in the cranes and opened up to receive staff. It seems it was not done. Many lifeboats were not lowered and most life rafts were not used at all.
If the ship starts to heel, you have to act quickly, because lifeboats and life rafts cannot be launched safely, when the heel is >20°. It would appear that Costa Concordia heeled >20° at 23.37 hrs or 1 hour 52 minutes after the contact. It was therefore ample time to launch all lifeboats and life rafts. But it was not done.
"At 22:54:10 the Second Master through the "public address system" communicates the '"Abandon Ship" in English."
This was 69 minutes after the contact incident. This means that passengers and staff at the muster stations shall be escorted to the allocated lifeboats and life rafts at the embarkation deck port and starboard.
The lifeboats should then have been lowered to deck level and be ready to receive passengers and some staff, so the lifeboats then can be launched into the water.
Same with the life rafts: the first eight should have been hooked up in the cranes and inflated and ready to receive people, probably staff. When fully loaded, the rafts drop into the water in a few seconds.
Again it seems nothing was done properly. The ship was not seaworthy.
M/S Costa Concordia
should have had at least 20 muster stations
for 200-250 persons each. Each muster station must have
sufficient space to accommodate all persons
assigned to muster at that station. All muster
stations must be close to the embarkation deck
and the life saving appliances and also close to
accommodation and work areas. Evidently passengers
in forward cabins muster at forward stations and
are allocated to forward lifeboats and life rafts,
etc. There should be a suitable
number of crew/staff members appointed to each
muster station to look after the passengers
there and to ensure that nobody remains in a cabin,
M/S Costa Concordia should have had at least 20 muster stations for 200-250 persons each.
Each muster station must have sufficient space to accommodate all persons assigned to muster at that station. All muster stations must be close to the embarkation deck and the life saving appliances and also close to accommodation and work areas. Evidently passengers in forward cabins muster at forward stations and are allocated to forward lifeboats and life rafts, etc.
There should be a suitable number of crew/staff members appointed to each muster station to look after the passengers there and to ensure that nobody remains in a cabin, etc.
Staff could muster at their own stations and be escorted to the life rafts. The lifeboats will later tow the life rafts. When all passengers and staff are away, the remaining officers and crew abandon ship by, e.g. # 1 or 2 lifeboat.
The muster list explains what crewmembers are appointed to the muster stations and lifeboats and the relevant duties.
An incident analysis report that does not verify, by, e.g. interviewing the crew, what happens after alarms and orders are given is worthless. Reason appears clear. Crew was not trained or missing to carry out mustering and an Abandon Ship. The alarms and order were not followed up. There was no muster list ... and no muster stations. Just complete disorder with passengers and staff just jumping into any lifeboat. Abandon ship had never been trained and there was no system for it.
The strange incident analysis report suggests that only 2 930 persons aboard managed to reach shore using ships' lifeboats and life rafts and that 1.270 persons (!) were rescued one way or another by rescue units of the Italian Coast Guard, incl. 235 left aboard after ship capsized. That rescue units of the Italian Coast Guard should have picked up 1 000 persons in the water is evidently not possible and evidence that reporting and analysis are very poor.
The ship owner had not provided the necessary skilled crew, training had not been done and information had not been given. Most non-Italian hotel staff aboard worked under slave conditions - 77 hrs/week at 1 $/hour during 11 months and then a short vacation, maybe, etc. Most crew didn't speak the working language, Italian. Media never reported this. The Master was evidently aware of the bad conditions and the lack of skilled crew aboard and lack of training and information but apparently approved the crew and standards provided by the ship owner. The Master probably didn't dare to criticize the ship owner or didn't understand himself that the ship was not seaworthy.
In the meantime - the leaking ship was upright and stable - progressive flooding of intact hull compartments through illegal watertight doors reduced ship's stability to zero leading to capsize.
The ship owner had 2005 decided that it was necessary to have 25 watertight doors in the ship's hull in spite of the fact that they were not permitted by SOLAS safety rules. The Master probably knew what would happen with open, illegal watertight doors below waterline in case of leakage, as he ordered them to be closed after the contact; the Master knew the doors were open! We do not know, if they were closed at Master's command. Some must have remained open or were opened dueing the avacuation to produce progressive flooding of intact spaces; otherwise the floating and stable ship would not have capsized.
In principle it should have been possible to pump out intact hull spaces being flooded, e.g. through leaking watertight doors, using the ship ordinary and emergency bilge pump systems and thus preventing capsize. It seems the incident investigators have not studied the matter and verified if the systems were correct. It would be interesting to know if both bilge pump systems were disabled due to the accidental up flooding of four hull compartments. If that were the case, the ship was incorrectly built and not seaworthy.
Media have since January 2012 never reported the above defects causing capsize, sinking and manslaughter.
Media still, 29 October 2013, report that something completely else happened, like:
"the ship collided with a reef (sic) off the Tuscan island of Giglio (13 January 2012), killing 32 people" (News.yahoo)
"the cruise ship ran aground (13 January 2012) off the north-west (sic) Italian coast." (BBC News)
"the vessel capsized (correct - but it happened 14 January 2012 ... and why?) & Some 32 people died when the boat hit a reef and partially sank (what?) on 13 January 2012 off the Tuscan island of Giglio." (The Guardian)
CNN got it almost right 30 October 2013:
"The cruise liner capsized after it struck rocks (sic) off Italy's Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea in January 2012, killing 32 of the 4,200 people on board.
Actually the ship just contacted one rock, and nobody died then. The ship was leaking, engines stopped, etc.
Nobody died during the chaotic evacuation and abandon ship that followed.
~3 900 persons had luck to get off the ship!
But >300 persons aboard were not evacuated!
So when the ship capsized three hours later, ~300 persons were still aboard. And 32 drowned due to the capsize.
Why cannot media report correctly? Why invent things? Aha, money! Advertising!
The ship owner Costa Crociere, S.p.A., Genoa, Italy, wholly owned by Carnival Corporation & plc, Miami, USA, backed up by Italian maritime and legal authorities and media (sic) immediately blamed the ship Master, Captain Francesco Schettino for the capsize incident killing people, fully, not partially, sinking the ship and also destroying the marine environment ... on 14 January 2012. It was the cheapest solution! Just blame an employee.
In their opinions the Master of this very big cruise ship with a 1 000+ crew was and is alone (!) responsible for everything including, e.g., running the engines, organizing safety aboard, cooking the food and entertaining the cargo ... sorry, the passengers paying the ship owner for the fun, etc.
Imagine that - you are the Master and must verify personally, apart from entertaining 3 000+ low-cost passengers, that engines are running and food and safety is in order and that 1 000 crewmembers supplied by the ship owner from all over the world and that you do not know are up to standard and that the ship is in order for everything, including certification. Imagine if life were so simple. I thought the Chief Engineer looked after the engines and the Chief Mate looked after safety. And younger male officers entertained the female passengers of all ages. And Chief Purser ensured beds were made and cabins cleaned. But I agree. A ship owner can organize the ship as he/she likes according the Code of International Safety Management, ISM and make the Master responsible for everything. I have written many ISM instructions and procedures in my 40+ years in safety at sea work, where each crew member is responsible for different things. I know that the ship owner is responsible that the ship is seaworthy.
The Carnival Corporation & plc, Miami, USA, owner of Costa Crociere, S.p.A., Genoa, Italy, has December 2013 delivered their annual financial statements 2013 (1.12.2012 - 30.11.2013) to the Commission of the U.S. Stock Exchange (SEC). In the accounts the mention of provisions for possible costs in the future is imperative, e.g. for the Costa Concordia contact, capsize, sinking, total loss, passenger damages, losses of life and ship recovery incidents 2012-2014. It is suggested that everything is covered by insurance and that no provisions are required.
"Claims from the Costa Concordia disaster are set to break through the $2bn (£1.2bn) barrier next year (i.e. 2014) because of difficulties experts have faced salvaging the 114,500-ton liner, insurance experts warned 28 December, 2013."
However, if anybody concerned can demonstrate that the ship was not seaworthy (as demonstrated here), when the incidents contact, capsize and sinking occurred, and that the ship owner was aware of it, insurances is not valid ... and the ship owner has to pay.
Safety at sea - my business - is the responsibility of ship owners and the maritime administrations to develop, decide, apply and enforce the rules of safety at sea.
The new rules/recommendations for passenger ship safety agreed by IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 91st session, 26 to 30 November 2012, are mainly window dressing, as they do not address the cause of the M/S Costa Concordia incident - the capsize - killing people - open and illegal watertight doors.
The new rules/recommendations were quickly modified by MSC.1/Circ.1446/Rev.2, 8 August 2013, RECOMMENDED INTERIM MEASURES FOR PASSENGER SHIP COMPANIES TO ENHANCE THE SAFETY OF PASSENGER SHIPS.
The rules/recommendations 1-18 in the Annex now apply to "companies owning and/or operating passenger ships" except:
9 To support the Master in preparing or revising the Muster List, companies owning and/or operating passenger ships should consider adopting a process that positively matches each crew member assigned to emergency duties with any required training and/or certification, whether by regulations or company policy. Such process may include the use of a paper-based or automated system on board that can effectively prevent assignment of a crew member to an emergency duty where the crew member is not trained or certified for such duty.
Here the Master (sic) aboard is made responsible that a crew member is not assigned to an emergency duty that the crew member is not trained for. This ruling seems drafted to enable any ship owner ashore to blame the Master, when something goes wrong Costa Concordia style.
The new rules/recommendations still do not address the watertight doors.
Rule 15 is strange: One lifeboat is to be filled with crew members equal in number to its certified number of occupants at least every six months. However the boat shall be empty when lowered into the water. It means that, e.g., 150 crew members shall climb down/up the rope ladder and sit in a boat, in the water, for 150 persons for a while. You wonder what the purpose of this rule is. Why not launch the boat full of people? It is made for it!
The new rules/recommendations do not address the launching of life rafts. The crew of Costa Concordia didn't know how to launch them.
The rules are similar to the crazy IMO rules for Fast Rescue Boats where passengers are recommended to attend the drills (sic).
To keep it simple. The ship owner ashore is responsible that the ship is seaworthy. A seaworthy vessel must provide its crew and passengers a safe place to work and live and must be equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment, safe recreation facilities and a competent and trained crew. Evidently the ship owner shall supply crew that can carry out the emergency duties aboard. Newcomers and inexperienced crew shall evidently be trained by more experienced crew aboard at regular training drills according to ISM/ship owner instructions and their seamen books updated accordingly. It is often done supervised by the first and third mate. To blame the Master - alone - for lack of trained crew aboard is not correct. Maybe the Master in the Costa Concordia case reported to the ship owner that the ship lacked sufficient crew or the ship owner was already aware of it and the ship owner decided to take a chance. We do not really know the background to the killings. We only know that the ship owner blames the Master for everything. That in itself is an admission of guilt. But the Italian authorities do not act because they are also guilty of serious negligence.
Seaworthiness is a strict liability warranty that imposes an absolute duty on the ship owner to provide a vessel and related equipment that is "reasonably fit for their intended use."
The ship owner appoints and pays the Master, the Chief Engineer, the Chief Mate and all the others. Most crew, i.e. the non-Italian ones, were paid low salaries and worked under slave conditions. The Master aboard is then responsible for the operations at sea as instructed by the ship owner and according ISM instructions. Evidently the ship owner writes the ISM descriptions including any Muster List.
Normally the Master has the overriding authority and the responsibility to make decisions aboard with respect to safety and pollution prevention and to request the ship owner's assistance as may be necessary. The responsibility that the ship is seaworthy at all times rests with the ship owner. Most cruise ship Masters only attend the bridge/wheelhouse, when manoeuvring in and out of ports. The rest of the time the Masters look after the cargo (the passengers) as the ship owner's representative.
Regular, external and internal ISM audits and Port State Controls then verify and ensure that the ship is seaworthy.
If the ship is not seaworthy and something goes wrong at sea, the ship owner cannot blame the Master.
An honest ship owner therefore always supports the Master whatever happens. If the Master is an irresponsible, incompetent clown in a white uniform dancing with the passengers, what about the ship owner having put this Master in charge of a valuable ship full of passengers? In this case the ship owner appears to have forced the Master to operate a not seaworthy ship. Probably the same applies to the other ships of the ship owner!
It is easy to demonstrate that the M/S Costa Concordia was not seaworthy but incorrectly designed, poorly managed with weak communications, badly trained crew and therefore dangerous and not operated according any proper ISM descriptions. To hide these facts the M/S Costa Concordia ship owner and Italian maritime and judicial administrations immediately put all blame on the Master. Assisted by mafia, excuse me ... media, of course. The morning 14 January 2012 the case was clear! It was all the fault of the Master.
If you Google about M/S Costa Concordia ever being seaworthy you will find that media do not mention seaworthiness at all since the two incidents took place.
Schettino was just doing his job as told by the ship owner, its ISM procedures and instructions, e.g. instruction when the vessel was leaking, and according Italian laws. He is innocent. He did not cause the capsize and sinking of a not seaworthy ship that killed 32 persons 14 January, 2012. Evidently Schettino and many others were involved with the stupid contact, an accident that occurred on 13 January, 2012 but nobody died then.
The ship was operated with watertight doors open at sea, which is not permitted. The watertight doors were also irregular. A ship with 25 watertight doors is not seaworthy. When the ship started to leak, progressive flooding through open, irregular watertight doors caused the capsize.
The ship lacked skilled crew to abandon ship and save all passengers. Life saving appliances were not launched by the crew leaving 100's of passengers and crew behind, 32 of which died at the capsize. The ship was not seaworthy.
For a ship to be seaworthy it must be equipped, organized and crewed to perform the voyage safely. The ship owner is responsible for that. Therefore the Master is innocent of manslaughter, capsize and producing a ship wreck. The guilty parties are evidently the ship owner and the Italian maritime authorities. All are guilty of sending a not seaworthy ship to sea.
Case is similar to the M/S Herald of Free Enterprise 6 March 1987 capsize killing 193 passengers and crew. Ship was not seaworthy on departure as a weather tight door in the superstructure forward end was left open, when the vessel proceeded to sea (the cause of the incident), which the Master and everybody else failed to observe and correct (a contributing factor). Water thus entered the ship's superstructure high above waterline during four minutes (a stupid accident) and the vessel immediately capsized and sank killing people (the effect) at about 10 meters depth, i.e. about 60% of the ship remained above water after the incident. The official inquiry correctly placed blame on supervisors aboard and ashore (read - the ship owner) and a general culture of poor communication in the shipping company. The wreck was removed and scrapped.
M/S Estonia Both
ships, not seaworthy prior departure, suffered
hull leakage so that hull compartments were up
flooded but both ships were floating and stable
afterwards until progressive flooding through
illegal, open watertight doors reduced stability
and righting arm GZ<0 resulting in capsize,
sinking and people killed. In
both cases the Master was blamed for everything
by corrupt marine accident investigators.
thus repeats itself 1994/ 2012. And passenger
ships are still fitted with illegal watertight
doors so that more ships will sink and more
people will drown when the ship starts to leak,
e.g. in a collision. And the maritime
authorities do nothing except put the blame on
difference though - at M/S Costa Concordia
all dead bodies in the ship have been or will be
salvaged. In the M/S Estonia case no dead bodies
in the wreck - there are >700 - were salvaged
and all bodies were left to rot at the bottom of
Both ships, not seaworthy prior departure, suffered hull leakage so that hull compartments were up flooded but both ships were floating and stable afterwards until progressive flooding through illegal, open watertight doors reduced stability and righting arm GZ<0 resulting in capsize, sinking and people killed.
In both cases the Master was blamed for everything by corrupt marine accident investigators.
History thus repeats itself 1994/ 2012. And passenger ships are still fitted with illegal watertight doors so that more ships will sink and more people will drown when the ship starts to leak, e.g. in a collision. And the maritime authorities do nothing except put the blame on seamen.
One difference though - at M/S Costa Concordia all dead bodies in the ship have been or will be salvaged. In the M/S Estonia case no dead bodies in the wreck - there are >700 - were salvaged and all bodies were left to rot at the bottom of the sea.
According International Chamber of Shipping, ICS, 250 passenger ships have been Port State Controlled, PSC, 2013, but none (!) has been arrested for any deficiency. Reason is that no authority dares to stop a passenger ship with >4 000 passengers (and 25 illegal watertight doors) aboard because the ship owner gets upset. M/S Costa Concordia had been subject to PSC many times 2006-2012 ... and no deficiencies had ever been spotted. PSC is not very good at spotting not seaworthy ships!
the 52-year-old T/M engineer in charge of
salvaging the ship had 12 August 2013 finally
warned that the massive luxury cruise ship could
fracture when it was rotated in early
have dealt with any fears about the operation
in the best way possible - by conducting
serious evaluations and putting in place all
the possible technical and engineering
Nick was wrong. Thus
it is possible that structural
fractures develop further and the whole
fore ship simply drops off and rolls
forward during the upcoming winter
storms. Weather has so far been very
therefore decided 7 October 2013 to
of an additional hold-back system to
avoid movements of the 9 000 tons
whatever that means except that the
bow moves. Part of the hold-back system
is shown left and below:
pictures of the installation of the tubular
restraint system to prevent the fore ship from
moving provided by the
salvors Source:http://static2.businessinsider.com/image/52385c3aeab8eadd4ad28250-1200-600/costa-concordia-aerial-view-6.jpg I
explain in Part
of this article how Nick managed to upright the
ship but severely damaged the internal
structure of the hull in the process. It is
thus not certain that the deformed and damaged
hull can be fitted with float tanks 12-30 meters
underwater and be re-floated or towed away or
removed somewhere later. We
will only know after the ship hull has been
carefully examined underwater. This
work is apparently still going on 4 November.
Imagine that it takes six weeks to inspect a
hull underwater. Underwater hull inspection
in lieu of drydocking is otherwise routine today
and takes only a couple of days. I have done
it myself many times. Divers film the
complete hull underwater and we experts watch
the result on a monitor above water. It is a
pity that the salvors do not publish the result
for external experts to have a look. There are
no underwater pictures of the hull
available since January 2012 or prior/after
uprighting September 2013.
Nick Sloane, the 52-year-old T/M engineer in charge of salvaging the ship had 12 August 2013 finally warned that the massive luxury cruise ship could fracture when it was rotated in early September:
"We have dealt with any fears about the operation in the best way possible - by conducting serious evaluations and putting in place all the possible technical and engineering measures."
But Nick was wrong.
Thus it is possible that structural fractures develop further and the whole fore ship simply drops off and rolls forward during the upcoming winter storms. Weather has so far been very calm.
Nick therefore decided 7 October 2013 to the positioning of an additional hold-back system to avoid movements of the 9 000 tons heavy bow, whatever that means except that the bow moves. Part of the hold-back system is shown left and below:
More pictures of the installation of the tubular restraint system to prevent the fore ship from moving provided by the salvors
I explain in Part 11 of this article how Nick managed to upright the ship but severely damaged the internal structure of the hull in the process. It is thus not certain that the deformed and damaged hull can be fitted with float tanks 12-30 meters underwater and be re-floated or towed away or removed somewhere later.
We will only know after the ship hull has been carefully examined underwater.
This work is apparently still going on 4 November. Imagine that it takes six weeks to inspect a hull underwater. Underwater hull inspection in lieu of drydocking is otherwise routine today and takes only a couple of days. I have done it myself many times. Divers film the complete hull underwater and we experts watch the result on a monitor above water. It is a pity that the salvors do not publish the result for external experts to have a look. There are no underwater pictures of the hull available since January 2012 or prior/after uprighting September 2013.
In retrospect it is very easy to point out what actions taken by a serious ship owner would have prevented the January 13 and 14 2012 Costa Concordia incidents.
1. Just follow SOLAS rules at construction and do not install watertight doors that are not required.
2. Always have a full complement of skilled crew aboard and do not depart, if ship owner does not provide the full crew.
3. Train basic safety skills at regular intervals in port and at sea, e.g. how to launch LSA.
4. Inform passengers about muster stations and abandon ship procedures.
5. Train bridge procedures how to manoeuvre the ship in close waters ... at sea, far away from any shores.
6. Enjoy life on a cruise vessel or ropax ferry with plenty safety drills! The passengers actually like to attend or watch safety exercises. It is a normal part of life at sea!
100's of people visit this web page every day. Thanks! Tell your friends also! Safety at sea and better, safer cruise vessels and ferries can only be achieved and improved by concerned, informed consumers.
Before departure from the port of Civitavecchia the leg to Savona was decided. It included a planned, starboard, 56° turn from heading 278° to 334° to take place at 21.40 hrs on 13 January 2012 at a safe distance from Isola del Giglio we are told to believe to salute the island. The island was evidently virtually deserted in January and most people there were looking on TV or slept. Nobody on the island knew the vessel was going to perform an "Inchino" and pass >600 meters away blowing its horn.
Aboard the vessel no
announcement was done that the ship was going to
pass a little island in the night. Passengers were
looking at the Magic show in the ship's
theatre or were attending a gala dinner in
the restaurant or having a drink or getting drunk
in the bars or were gambling in the casino or were
shopping spending money or were sleeping and not
spending money. Outside was 5°C temperature.
Very few people bothered to look out in the dark
night. It seems to have been a miserable cruise
with little fun! Going to Savona ... in January!
A few passengers and some
Broadway onboard show stars were invited to
the Magic show of the Master to be
performed in the ship's wheelhouse at the same time
- how to change heading of the ship 56°
starboard about 1 600 meters away from
Isola del Giglio and 1 800 meters south of Porte
del Giglio by turning the rudder from the
wheelhouse alternatively turning very close just
for the sake of it as there seems to be no logic
regarding the whole matter.
Aboard the vessel no announcement was done that the ship was going to pass a little island in the night. Passengers were looking at the Magic show in the ship's theatre or were attending a gala dinner in the restaurant or having a drink or getting drunk in the bars or were gambling in the casino or were shopping spending money or were sleeping and not spending money. Outside was 5°C temperature. Very few people bothered to look out in the dark night. It seems to have been a miserable cruise with little fun! Going to Savona ... in January!
A few passengers and some Broadway onboard show stars were invited to the Magic show of the Master to be performed in the ship's wheelhouse at the same time - how to change heading of the ship 56° starboard about 1 600 meters away from Isola del Giglio and 1 800 meters south of Porte del Giglio by turning the rudder from the wheelhouse alternatively turning very close just for the sake of it as there seems to be no logic regarding the whole matter.
The below chart used for the course change and passage at, e.g. 100 meters off the island, is evidently not correct. It is in thewrong s cale and does not show the details of the coast off 100 meters, etc:
It is however not very complicated to turn a ship 56°!
Easiest way is to ask the computer to turn the ship - the whole leg/courses/speed data are stored in the computer. Another way for any Master to turn a ship is just turning the rudder himself using remote control of the steering gear from, e.g. the port bridge wing, where he could see the shore several miles away in the darkness with Moon shining and stars blinking. Nothing magic about that.
It is very simple. At 21.38 hrs you turn, via remote control, the rudders 10° starboard (it takes 10 seconds) and at 21.42 hrs, less than four minutes later, your heading has changed 56° starboard to course 334° as seen on the compass when you put the rudders at 0° again using same remote control of the steering gear/tillers at the stern of the ship, it takes 10 seconds, and you'll pass the island at a safe distance. Then you blow the horn, get the applause from your audience and the show is over. If you slow down to 8 knots the pass/show will take double time and you can blow your horn twice as long to wake the sleeping Isola del Giglio inhabitants.
In this case the Master ordered the helmsman inside the wheel house to turn the ship/move the rudders for him, via the means of remote control, starting at 21.39 hrs resulting in a mysterious contact at 21.45 hrs.
It seems that the ship did not respond to the orders given to turn during several critical minutes, when the Voyage Data Recorder was mysteriously deactivated. Or the VDR didn't work at all?
"Corriere della Sera reports that the cruise ships VDR had not been in working order for up to four days prior to the accident on January 13th, and that from 11:36pm that night no data was recorded at all."
It appears that the means of the steering gear of moving the rudders may also have been deactivated. It may explain the strange contact accident that followed. Evidently the Master didn't intentionally steer the ship on land.
According the Italian safety technical investigation - www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/Costa_Concordia_-_Full_Investigation_Report.pdf pp 2,3, it was all the fault of the Master alone though:
The ship was sailing too close to the coastline, in a poorly lit shore area, under the Master's command who had planned (sic) to pass at an unsafe distance at night time and at high speed (15.5 kts). The danger was considered so late that the attempt to avoid the grounding was useless, and everyone on board realized that something very serious was happening, because the ship violently heeled and the speed immediately decreased.
No mention of a pre-planned course and change of heading at a safe distance off Isola del Giglio all stored in the ship's computer ... not really requiring any action at all from the Master.
According the same Italian safety technical investigation - www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/Costa_Concordia_-_Full_Investigation_Report.pdf pp 27-29 (undated/unsigned, very poor with multiple wrong and misleading info) issued May 2013 we are however told the following 25 points telling us something else. Most data appears to be based on sound of the Bridge Voice Recorder. None of the course changes are noted on the chart used for navigation:
1. At 21:19:02 the 1st Deck Officer contacts by phone the Master, as per the instructions given after the departure from Civitavecchia, informing him that are to stay at 6 miles from the Giglio island and that will reach the beam at 21:44.
(Comment - it seems the course and point of turn to pass the Giglio island was decided before departure from Civitavecchia and stored in the computer. Time to pass Porto del Giglio was 21.42 hrs)
3. It is noted that on the bridge are also present the Chief Purser, the Metre and the catering services Manager.
(Comment - it not clear if rudders/actually the power operated steering gear were/was switched in the manual mode at this time. The Master comes a couple of minutes before the Magic Show starts. Good. But why not leave it to the computer to turn the ship?)
5. At 21:36:02 the 1st Deck Officer ordered the helmsman to come alongside for 285 and 290 degrees after about 1 minute.
(Comment - this was an excellent order - start the starboard turn a little early to be further away from shore at end of turn! Who cares about an "inchino" in the dark anyway? But this change of heading is not recorded on any chart, nor in the VDR data, so we do not know if the ship really changed heading, i.e. order was followed, rudders were moved, etc.)
6. At 21:36:35 (VDR) Masters orders to set on radar a distance circle of 0.5 miles.
(Comment - why? This order is very strange. Was it done?)
7. From 21:37:11 to 21:38:47 Master is engaged in a phone conversation with a person and ask him about the safe distance from the coast of Giglio there is a safe depth enough to pass, he replies that it is safe till 0,3/0,4 miles away from the island.
(Comment - what person? - why didn't anybody look at the charts? Do you really navigate by telephone or telephone book maps like they do in Sweden? And how do the investigators hear what the other person says?)
8. At 21:39:14, with a 290 heading, the Master takes the command of the watch.
(Comment - thus the planned 56° turn started early already 21:36:02 (point #5) and the ship had already turned 12°, when the Master takes the command. The ship is further away from shore as planned! Only 44° to turn - if we believe the Bridge Voice Recordings)
9*. At 21:39:30 with speed 3.15 (sic probably 15.3 knots) Master orders the helmsman to go for 300, and at 21:40:00 orders to increase to 16 knots and then to pull "gently" to 310°. (*evidence is apparently the voice recording with a good clock. It is good to speed up while turning)
10. Till this point the ship is still on the course as planned and the radar displays a VRM at 0.5 miles. The bow heads towards "Punta Capo Marino" and the ship proceeds, at a distance of 1.35 miles and a speed of 15.4 knots.
(Comment - The ship must at this time be heading towards Porto del Giglo and the turn is halfway done. It thus seems all was going according to the plan at 21:40:00 hrs decided four hours earlier at departure from Civitavecchia)
11*. The Master now gives orders to the helm for "bows" moves away from the planned course, starting a yaw to starboard wider than planned, thus approaching Giglio island. (*evidence is apparently a voice recording)
(Comment - it would be interesting to know why the Master "moves away from the planned course", actually a simple turn, and starts a yaw wider than planned. How is it done by shouting to a helmsman? The planned turn is half done! And what yaw was planned? Why wasn't a normal two minutes turn done? Did the steering gear means of moving the rudders really work? The report suggests that the Master intentionally steers the ship on land ... it is crazy)
12*. At 21:40:48 the Master orders, in English, ".. 325 .." the helmsman answers, to confirm the order ".. 315 ..", the First Deck Officer intervenes to correct the interpretation of the helmsman but pronounces ".. 335 .." then the Master reiterates its order ".. 325 .." and then the Helmsman confirms ".. 325 ..". (*evidence is apparently a voice recording - is this an order to yaw wider?)
(Comment - the heading should now have been at least 325° and the planned turn completed after 30 seconds - but what was really the heading? Why aren't we told that but nonsense about orders given)
14. The data show that VDR, when the VRM circle "touches" the shore, is going to be deactivated.
(Comment - the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) strangely does not show what happens between the critical times 21.39.34 and 21.43.33 hrs and was thus deactivated. It would be interesting to know why the VDR was deactivated. *Thus points 9, 11, 12, 15 -18 must be based on Bridge Voice recordings)
15*. At 21:42:07 is ordered 330 and the helmsman answered correctly. (*evidence is apparently a voice recording)
(Comment - these orders 15-18 are of course interesting but more interesting is to know the actual headings and positions of the ship and the positions of the rudders. The planned turn should have been completed at 21.42.00 hrs. Did the steering gear means of moving the rudders really work? Did the helmsman execute any rudder turnings? We do not know)
19. At 21:43:44 the speed is 15.9, the Master orders, always in English, ".. 350 ..", the helmsman does not confirm properly (it repeats 340) and the order is confirmed again, specifying the side "starboard" and warning that otherwise would end up on the rocks (taken from video recordings of the VDR to 21:43:46 the bow is oriented to 327°)
(Comment - at the end of the turn the heading should be 334° - so it was still 7° to go 81 seconds before the accidental contact. Now the VDR is recording again and an explanation should be provided why it was so)
20. The turn is still in progress when the ship is at 21:44:05 in position 42°21'05 "N 010°56 'E, with the bow in the direction of "Le Scole " at 0.3 miles (555 meters) and a speed of 16 knots.
(Comment - for this to be correct the ship is a mile closer to shore than planned. The investigation report cannot be correct. Why hasn't the ship turned as planned? What does the VDR say? Was the rudders really moved?)
21. The turning radius is such that the ship is located 0.5 miles SW of the planned route so much closer to the coast than planned.
(Comment - No - the turning radius should have positioned the ship well away from shore. Were the Master and other crew on the bridge aware of being so far off course? The planned turn should have been completed two minutes ago! How do we know if the rudders were actually turned? Maybe they were also deactivated? What does the VDR say?)
22. From this moment the Master starts giving orders no more for bows but for rudder angles and in sequence gives:
(Comment - how is it possible? The turn should have been completed 2 and 1/2 minutes ago. What is the heading? What does the VDR say?)
- 21:44:43 port ten (ten degrees to the left), but the helmsman reaches only 5 degrees to the left;
(Comment - these orders are of course interesting but did the ship respond and what are the rudder positions according to the VDR?)
23. The Second Deck Officer from the left wing warns that the left (sic) side is gone aground (sic), a second later it was heard a loud crash.
(Comment - there are several rocks on confusing charts outside Isola del Scole - some visible above water, some hidden below water - and it would be interesting to know what rock the vessel made contact with and how the port aft side could be damaged by the contact.)
25. Master realizes to have collided with a rock, orders the closing of all watertight doors and aft, in 30" from 21:45:33 to 21:45:48, then orders the helmsman to give all the rudder to the left and after an initial misunderstanding between him, the First Deck Officer and the helmsman, this one confirms the order. At 21:45:48 (VDR) Master orders the helm to the centre and the pilot run correctly.
(Comment - Master can only have suspected having contacted something - and the order closing all watertight doors is late. At the trial January 2014 we were told that "the reef which the vessel smashed into off Giglio Island wasn't on nautical charts", but we do not know if it were a reef or where exactly the contact took place. The above confusing descriptions of orders given resulting in a collision (sic) are of no value at all to establish what really happened.)
It would appear that the Master already at 21:42:00 hrs or at least 21:44:05 hrs thought that the planned turn was executed as planned and only then got worried and ordered hard and full starboard ... but we do not know, if the rudders were actually moved as ordered. Maybe the helmsman did not turn the rudders or the steering gear system didn't work.
Why do we not know anything about the steering gear, its tests and survey record? It would appear the steering gear didn't work.
From above rather confusing and incomplete information it seems the contact was an accident ... or sabotage.
It is very strange that the Voyage Data Recorder was shut off 239 seconds during the critical time before contact so we do not know the exact course of the ship, the positions of the rudders and if the steering gear worked.
It should not be possible that a VDR or the steering gear is disconnected at any time.
There exists a copy of the VDR data of the turning:
However the VDR recording does not show what happens between the critical times 21.39.34 and 21.43.33 hrs - when it was deactivated. Maybe the rudders were deactivated too? Sabotage!? Strange things happen at sea!
It should be very simple to find out what really happened during these six minutes as the Voyage Data Recorder, VDR, records all the time (i) Speed log - Speed through water or speed over ground before and after the first contact, second capsize and final sinking, (ii) Gyro compass - Headings before and after the contact, (iii) Radar - it gives ship's positions at any time and before and after the contact, capsize and final sinking and, (iv) Rudder - Positions, orders and feedback responses all the time.
Unfortunately these data are not made public or has been erased (as shown above). It seems only bridge voice recordings (?) and video of a radar screen are used to find out or invent what happened.
Apparently the turn was extremely badly executed by the Italian Master (or Chief Officer?) giving oral orders to the non-Italian helmsman not understanding them. But the upright, very slowly starboard turning vessel bow and extended stabilizer fin at L/2 apparently passed the rocks outside Scole island at about 10 to 2 meters distance at 21.44.45 hrs - no contact there - and then (according one version);
(i) the Master ordered hard starboard, which maybe took 10-20 seconds and apparently the helmsman understood the order,
(ii) vessel bow thus turned/yawed hard starboard away from the rock/shore but
(iii) vessel heeled at same time hard port towards the rock/shore due to centrifugal forces applied to vessel's centre of gravity G high above waterline and
(iv) vessel's port vertical side displaced downwards a couple of meters due to heel and then
(v) the port, aft end side, submerged a couple of meters, was swinging out to port due to drift and touched a rock 100 meters outside the Scole islands just below the a couple of meters submerged waterline a few seconds later and caused the first incident - a contact starting at 21.45.07 hrs (ship still turning starboard and aft end swinging out to port touching the rock) and ending at 21.45.15 hrs (ship turning stopped due to contact - www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/Costa_Concordia_-_Full_Investigation_Report.pdf p 63 very confusingly states):
"At 21 44 30 (hrs), that is when the ship is still in turn gradually to reach 350 heading, the Scole (an island off Giglio island with rocks another 100 meters further outside the Scole)) are exactly 150 meters far from the bow (the ship is 809 mt off course). Therefore, if we consider that the first half hull is then disengaged from the rocks before they spent the 37" missing (sic) impact (occurred at 21 45 07), it is plausible that if in the last 32 deg (sic - seconds!) rudder was left in the centre, or slightly to starboard, the stern could have overcome the Scole (the rocks 100 meters off the Scole) without significant damage. As proof, it can be noted that from the ordinate nr. 150 till extreme stern exist 120 mts and that this distance is made in 15 secs, so it's just in the last 32 secs that hull feels the strong effect of the rudder to starboard, impacting violently with the ship's (port aft) side, from the second half of the ship (the engine room then hits the rocks at exactly 21 45 15 (hrs), in respect to the area of the ordinate 130,which collides (sic) at 21 45 07 (hrs)."
This manoeuvre seems magic and is maybe possible and may explain the very strange damages port side aft (part 2). The Master evidently could not envisage this drama in 3-D - vessel bow turning hard starboard, vessel top part rotating to port submerging port vertical side aft below waterline, vessel's aft end swinging towards shore and port, aft end vertical side kissing a stupid rock on the sea floor 100 meters away from visible shore (Scole island). The rock or rocks were very difficult to see.
No merchant marine academy recommends such magic tricks! By yelling to a helmsman not understanding much.
If you try, the result is always an accident. A stupid accident. No collision, no grounding as reported by media! Just a stupid contact.
(i) the Master at 21.44.43 hrs - orders port ten and at 21.44.45 hrs - port twenty and a little later hard port
(ii) vessel bow thus turned/yawed hard port towards shore of Isola del Giglio for 24 seconds and
(iii) vessel heeled at same time hard starboard away from shore due to centrifugal forces applied to vessel's centre of gravity G high above waterline and
(iv) vessel's port vertical side displaced upwards a couple of meters due to heel and then
(v) the port, aft end side was swinging out to starboard due to drift away from any rocks and ... could not touch anything at 21.45.07 hrs. The Magic show would have worked. No contact! The above is a clear example of the confusion about the first incident 22 months later or how things get confused when you try to invent something. It is a little M/S Estonia 1994 losing its visor heading west that nobody noticed. M/S Estonia then continued westward, turned 180° and went back eastward to sink a mile east of the position of the lost visor. Magic!
But who has ever heard of a cruise ship Master interrupting a gala dinner and social work in the restaurant by running up to the wheelhouse in the evening to shout to a helmsman to change heading? In another version of the show it was watch keeping C/O Ciro Ambrosio giving the initial orders to turn, while the Master, also on the bridge, was on the phone to an old friend.
The result was thus a contact between the vessel's port aft vertical side and a rock on the seabed, the vertical side was ripped open 36.5 meters, four compartments were up flooded at once, electrical motors and generators stopped and the ship continued ... without power. Had the Master not ordered hard starboard (but hard port that was ordered in another version of the tale) maybe the vessel had slipped by with some centimetres between hull and rock or there had only been a little dent in the side.
course it could have ended much, much worse!
Had the ship been 10 meters closer to shore, had
the side been ripped open >50 meters, had five
or six watertight compartments been up flooded,
then the ship would have capsized immediately, i.e.
heeled 180° upside down and all 4 250+
persons aboard would have died. It would have taken
less than five minutes.
Of course it could have ended much, much worse! Had the ship been 10 meters closer to shore, had the side been ripped open >50 meters, had five or six watertight compartments been up flooded, then the ship would have capsized immediately, i.e. heeled 180° upside down and all 4 250+ persons aboard would have died. It would have taken less than five minutes.
It is a little like M/T Exxon Valdez 1989. The M/T Exxon Valdez American half deaf, senile American helmsman was told to turn the tanker 45° to avoid an iceberg in the fairway and forgot to turn 45° back again into the fairway (a first incident) that nobody noticed (we are told to believe) and went hard aground an hour later at full speed ... a little, just 10 miles, 45° off course spilling 30 000 tons of crude oil into the sea (a second incident). The Exxon Valdez Master was asleep in his cabin then.
Not so Francesco Schettino, Master of M/S Costa Concordia who was wide awake. His ship was only a few hundred metres or centimetres off course, when it contacted a rock.
The contact incident at 21.45.15 hrs appears due to very strange and reckless manoeuvring of the ship but luckily we know a little about the ship's manoeuvring characteristics addressed by the IMO Standards for ship manoeuvrability (IMO MSC.137(76) resolution on Standards for ship manoeuvrability).
Of particular interests here are the advance and transfer, i.e. the distances travelled forward and sideways and times to carry out a 90° (or 44° or 58°) change of heading at constant cruise speed/engine power and the head reach and lateral deviation, i.e. the time of and the distances travelled forward and sideways during a crash stop; ship's speed reduced from cruise speed to zero with propellers rotation reversed at full power.
Available data (Annex 31 of the Incident Investigation report) suggests that at approach max/trial speed 20.8 knots and giving hard starboard 35° rudder via the remote control in the wheelhouse (it takes the steering gear about 20+ seconds to rotate the rudder 35°) the Advance is 686 meters, the Transfer is 219 meters, the Tactical Diameter is 559 meters and the average rate of turning is 0.753°/second. It takes 50 seconds to change heading 37.81° and 60 seconds to change heading 51.87° but the drift angle is not known. The speed drops a lot while turning.
At 16.00 and 20.66 knots and crash stop the Head Reach is 1 298.9 and 1 648.0 meters and stopping time 250.9 and 308.0 seconds respectively.
By giving starboard 20° rudder only (which takes 10 seconds) at approach speed 20.48 knots it takes 70 seconds to change heading 36.77°, while you advance about 665 meters and transfer/deviate laterally 123 meters to starboard.
It would appear that the ship could be manoeuvred from the bridge wings without giving orders to the helmsman and you wonder why the procedure Master giving orders to the helmsman was used. Had it ever been tested and practiced? The many Masters I know love to manoeuvre their ships in/out of ports (at slow speed) themselves from the bridge wings via remote control as all controls (engines/rudders) are available there and the compass will show the result.
It would thus appear that turning 44° to starboard at 16 knots 1 600 meters away from shore could easily be done within two minutes. Why the Master had to direct this simple manoeuvre giving order to a helmsman is not clear. All officers on the bridge could have done it themselves.
The six minutes (sic) turn therefore seems extremely strange. Did the vessel actually respond to the rudder movements via remote controls, i.e. was the steering installation in order? Why did a normal turn 44° (or 56°) starboard take six minutes? Seconds after the contact there were multiple rudder alarms (pumps controlling rudder turning not working) (www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/Costa_Concordia_-_Full_Investigation_Report.pdf p 136) but it is possible the steering gear installation and the remote control system broke down prior the contact. Such mishaps have happened many times.
In my view a simple order/manoeuvre to change heading 44° (or 56°) to starboard at 16 knots would be terminated in less than four minutes and the ship would have passed safely far away from shore as planned. The voyage plan and its 56° turn was therefore reasonable and safe as long as you start early, e.g. four minutes before the planned end of turning.
However, nobody aboard died due to the accidental contact after the strange six minutes change of heading. The ship was floating and stable. And no pollution was caused.
The Italian technical incident investigation was 16 months later, May 2013, complete ... and it is extremely poor, full of factual faults and does not contribute to improved safety at sea.
We are told by anonymous investigators that the ship and everything there incl. equipment, its ship owner and all maritime authorities involved were perfect. Everything was the fault of the Master alone and some other people ashore (!) and aboard delaying action or giving bad advice. 100% human errors!
Its version of the contact incident - the badly executed turn - at www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/Costa_Concordia_-_Full_Investigation_Report.pdf (pp 3-4) is:
The ship was (13 January 2012) sailing too close to the coastline, in a poorly lit shore area, under the Master's command who had planned (sic) to pass at an unsafe (sic) distance at night time and at high speed (15.5 knots). The danger was considered so late that the attempt to avoid the grounding (sic) was useless, and everyone on board realized that something very serious was happening, because the ship violently heeled and the speed immediately decreased.
Strange! High speed (15.5 knots)? But ship's top speed was >23 knots! Wasn't the ship supposed to turn? The ship was not sailing too close to a coastline in a poorly lit shore area! The ship was executing a planned, safe change of heading/turning according to a prepared voyage plan 1 600 meters away from shore! After the turn the ship should be >800 meters away from shore. My comments on the Italian investigation nonsense are here - it would appear that what happened 13 January 2012 was an accident, when the Master tried to direct the pre-planned change of course of the vessel in front of the island and the helmsman misunderstood the commands or/and the double steering gears/rudders/remote control installations (ship had two rudders) were defective.
Evidently more sinister circumstances have been proposed. But the ship owner, company directors and lawyers and authorities, all of them, just blame an incompetent Master (Capt. Schettino) for everything.
The latter is the easy, low cost, stupid solution selected by the ship owner and maritime and judicial authorities to avoid any responsibility and to prevent that safety at sea is improved. Just blame the Master to run the ship aground (sic), which never happened and forget that the sister ships are equally dangerous.
A ship owner that does not support its Master and does not assist in analyzing ship incidents is a danger at sea.
"The Costa Concordia slammed into rocks off the coast of Giglio on the evening of Jan 13 last year, while sailing too fast and too close to shore in order to perform a ship salute. In the chaos (sic) that ensued, 32 people died, hundreds were injured and more than 4,000 passengers and crew were marooned on the tiny Mediterranean island west of Italy, usually home to just 600 residents."
Actually none of it happened! There was a contact while changing heading and nobody died due to it. Later 99% of persons aboard abandoned ship and reached Isola del Giglio with population 1 600 waiting to welcome them. There >4 000 survivors were provided with >3 000 beds to sleep in, hot showers and breakfast, so that they a few hours later were taken by ferries to the mainland 60 minutes away and sent home without personal belongings, we are told. I describe the amazing and unbelievable reception on the Giglio Island and transfer to the mainland in part 8. Nobody was marooned on a desert island and abandoned there.
A slightly better but equally faked media description was:
On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia struck (or contacted) a rock, tearing a hole in the side of the ship which flooded the engine room causing a loss of power. The ship eventually drifted close to Giglio Island, where the ship grounded on its side (?). As a result of these disastrous events, 32 people died (sic).
32 people didn't die on January 13, 2012. Then there was only an accidental contact at the aft, vertical, port side, and four hull compartments were up-flooded due to a 36.5 meters long fractured leakage of the hull. Other hull plates were buckled and deformed. Nobody was killed. The ship was upright and floated. It never grounded on its bottom or anywhere and nobody died due to a grounding either. The starboard bilge may forward and aft have touched two rocky outreaches on the sea floor - no grounding - when wind pushed the drifting ship against the shore.
The sudden capsize the next day was caused by progressive flooding through illegal watertight doors.
The disinformation continues 2013, e.g. with this crazy 20 July 2013 description of the accident:
"The reef sliced a 70-metre-long (230ft) gash in the hull and seawater rushed in, causing the ship to capsize".
The fact is that no reef but an isolate rock underwater sliced a 36.5 meter-long gash in the hull at 21.45 hrs 13 January contact, while the ship capsized 00.34 hrs 14 January due to progressive flooding through open, illegal watertight doors killing people. In the meantime the ship was abandoned:
"Survivors described an evacuation that was so confused and delayed that by the time it got under way, lifeboats on one side of the Concordia could no longer be launched because the vessel was listing too far".
The fact is that the muster and evacuation systems were developed by the ship owner and approved by the Italian maritime authorities for this and four sister ships & but they were never tested. The ship was upright long enough to launch most lifesaving appliances. Only 3 of 26 lifeboats were not used, probably due to lack of crew aboard to launch three of them. 63 of 69 life rafts that could easily evacuated >1 000 persons were never used at all.
It seems nobody knew that life rafts could be used and that crew was missing and/or didn't know how to launch them or abandoned ship not doing their jobs.
"&Frenchman, Francis Servel, who "not having found a place on the lifeboat, threw himself into the sea without a life vest", the court official read. He was "sucked toward the bottom of the whirlpool produced by the final flipping over on the right side of the ship, and then died due to asphyxiation"".
It is sad that the crew did not tell M. Francis Servel that there were 69 life rafts aboard that should have saved >1 000 persons ... if used. And that the ship owner did not supply crew to launch them. And that the maritime administration didn't stop the not seaworthy ship from sailing.
It is sad that media cannot get the facts right about safety at sea. BBC is leading the pack!
The Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports (sic) also suggests that the hull damage is 60 meters long and that five hull compartments were immediately up-flooded. It is wrong. If five hull compartments had been up-flooded, the ship would have immediately capsized and most likely all 4 252 persons aboard would have drowned before any evacuation was started. Imagine that! No, the fifth compartment was progressively, slowly flooded through illegal watertight doors. And it caused the capsize!
Actually only four watertight compartments were up flooded, <14 000 m3 buoyancy was lost, mean draft increased about 1.2 meters and ship trimmed ~4.08 meters on the stern - aft draft became ~11.54 meters and forward draft ~7.46 meters due to the 21.45 hrs contact. The flood water did not reach the bulkhead deck and stability was in order. The ship was therefore 100% safe at 23.15 hrs - but immediate abandon ship was still necessary as engines and equipment were not working! The unlucky Master was quite happy.
The ship was safe and could be towed for repairs.
Had the Master then, immediately after the contact, alerted the crew to prepare all lifeboats and life rafts for embarkation for abandon ship - it would take 10 minutes to lower all 26 lifeboats and to hook up and inflate the first 8 life rafts on the cranes - and alerted the passengers to gather at the two muster stations for further info, then the Master could, later, after having calmly reviewed the situation as per Company instruction when the vessel was leaking, order the abandon ship and it would have gone fast to leave the vessel wherever it was drifting using all lifeboats and life rafts.
We know for sure that the ship's stability was in order after the contact at 21.45 hrs and up flooding of four watertight compartments and until 22.31 hrs because the ship didn't capsize then and later damage stability calculations confirm it, e.g. www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/Costa_Concordia_-_Full_Investigation_Report.pdf (p 156) confusingly:
"The stability of the vessel is found satisfactory in terms of GM at equilibrium heeling angle, range and area under righting lever curve (representing the residual righting energy of the vessel) from step 1 (representing the vessel situation at 9.45 p.m. of 13 January 2013) to step 9 (representing the vessel situation at 10.31 p.m),whereas at step 10 (representing the vessel situation at 10.54 p.m) the righting lever curve is almost neglectable (sic) meaning that the vessel has lost her capability of opposing to healing (sic) causes".
We also know that the ship was stable after 22.54 hrs so maybe the damage stability calculations of step 10 are not correct. Later progressive flooding took place through open watertight doors ... and capsize!
Luckily there was only a Black-out and the emergency light and equipment functioned after the contact. Later, the still floating and stable ship, not aground but with starboard bilge touching a reef and heeling a little due to wind force pushing it, anchored and evacuated one way or another 99% of the persons aboard, many of whom were afraid because the evacuation system was no good, and finally, next day, the ship suddenly capsized, certainly due to progressive flooding of a fifth dry, intact hull compartment through illegal and open watertight doors, so that 32 persons still aboard drowned.
So let's summarize:
1. At 21.39 hrs 13 January the Master gives order to change heading starboard. The turning takes very long time and we do not know if the steering gear was in order. Maybe a defect steering gear caused what followed:
2. Six minutes later at 21.45 hrs 13 January there was an 8-10 seconds contact and four hull compartments were up flooded. The stability (metacentre height GM and righting arm GZ) and buoyancy of the ship were after complete up flooding positive, i.e. ship was floating, stable and upright. Abandon ship was then possible. Nobody aboard had died. A confused abandon ship evacuation took place later but some people incl. Master remained aboard.
3. At 00.33 hrs 14 January the ship was still floating and almost upright, i.e. stability and buoyancy were still positive. The damaged ship had drifted by the Hand of God and the wind very close to Isola del Giglio and was pushed against some reefs there, i.e. bilge lightly touching the reefs (no grounding) and heeled to starboard. Nobody aboard had died so far.
4. At 00.34 hrs there was a capsize and vessel's deckhouse crashed onto the shallow reefs close to shore at starboard. Without the support of the reefs the ship would have turned upside down and the >300 persons still aboard would have drowned. Ship was still floating, i.e. buoyancy was positive, but righting arm GZ was now <0. Reason for GZ<0 and capsize is progressive flooding of hull compartments through open watertight doors. Probably some persons aboard died now.
5. At 00.35 hrs onwards all hull compartments were down flooded and buoyancy (and GM) became negative, buoyancy was lost and the ship sank while sliding away 30-40 meters from shore on the sloping sea floor and 32 persons aboard drowned or were crushed one way or another. The remaining ~300 persons on the port, upper, dry side were very lucky and later rescued.
At 00.35 hrs onwards capsized M/S Costa Concordia was floating with 90° heel before sinking. Evidently the ship was not aground before capsize occurred
6. At 01.30 hrs Saturday 14 January, 2012 ship was finally at rest half sunk on bottom with 65° heel. Any media suggesting otherwise is publishing false information.
Sorry, no running aground or slamming into rocks or killing of people took place on January 13, 2012, as reported by media.
There is no evidence of a real chaos or that hundreds were seriously injured and treated on the island. Amazing, isn't it? How you can misunderstand events by faulty media information. In order to improve safety at sea you have to get the facts right by honest investigation. It applies also to any criminal court trying to find out who is responsible for injury and death of a ship capsize. There is evidence that the Company ship evacuation plan and use of life rafts didn't work but no suggestion to improve them on the sister ships.
It seems that a foreign,
underpaid Asian helmsman, supplied by the ship
owner, didn't or was slow to understand the
Master's commands, turned the wrong directions,
etc, etc. ending in (right): Why the Master didn't turn the
vessel himself remains unknown. According Italian legal
authorities the Master of the ship, Francesco
Schettino, is responsible for a) causing a ship
wreck, b) manslaughter (of 32 persons) and c)
abandoning the ship too early. A show trial started
16 July 2013 at Grosseto, Italy, and will last
until March 2014. There will be 65+ (!) day
sessions in court over nine months to demonstrate
that Schettino is guilty as charged. The
capsized M/S Costa Concordia morning January 14,
2012. Did the Captain Francesco Schettino
alone really produce this situation killing
people? Note the life rafts still hanging in the
cranes forward and aft. Why weren't they dropped
into the water and released? Three lifeboats were
also not launched. Why? Lack of crew handling
It seems that a foreign, underpaid Asian helmsman, supplied by the ship owner, didn't or was slow to understand the Master's commands, turned the wrong directions, etc, etc. ending in (right):
Why the Master didn't turn the vessel himself remains unknown.
According Italian legal authorities the Master of the ship, Francesco Schettino, is responsible for a) causing a ship wreck, b) manslaughter (of 32 persons) and c) abandoning the ship too early. A show trial started 16 July 2013 at Grosseto, Italy, and will last until March 2014. There will be 65+ (!) day sessions in court over nine months to demonstrate that Schettino is guilty as charged.
The capsized M/S Costa Concordia morning January 14, 2012. Did the Captain Francesco Schettino alone really produce this situation killing people? Note the life rafts still hanging in the cranes forward and aft. Why weren't they dropped into the water and released? Three lifeboats were also not launched. Why? Lack of crew handling them?
I get a feeling that the ship owner and his H&M
and P&I underwriters have 2012 decided to
destroy the ship and any evidence of wrong doings
2012-2016, while they destroy the Master in the
Italian legal court at Grosseto 2013-2015 to put
the Master in jail until 2033. It is not a nice
Sometimes I get a feeling that the ship owner and his H&M and P&I underwriters have 2012 decided to destroy the ship and any evidence of wrong doings 2012-2016, while they destroy the Master in the Italian legal court at Grosseto 2013-2015 to put the Master in jail until 2033. It is not a nice feeling.
32 people that had not been evacuated from the ship died on January 14, 2012, due to a capsize caused by illegal watertight doors and progressive flooding of dry compartments through the doors.
Schettino just happened to do his job as Master aboard the M/S Costa Concordia, when the ship capsized on 14 January, 2012. All International Safety Management, ISM, procedures for the vessel and the four sister ships (and other Costa ships) had been developed ashore and aboard by the ship owner company and verified by independent auditors. Navigation was planned by the 2nd Officer aboard and executed by the watch keeping officers and crew, incl. the helmsman, on the bridge. The Master, unfortunately, arrived to the bridge a few minutes before the first incident on 13 January, 2012, and said that he took, temporarily, over the command to execute a turn in front of Isola del Giglio. Due misunderstandings, confusion, language problems and bad charts the turn was badly executed, so the ship made a 10 seconds contact with an underwater object and damaged the aft port side and four watertight compartments were up-flooded. It was a typical accident. A very stupid one. Luckily nobody died due to this incident and the damaged ship was stable and floating. There was a Black-out and loss of propulsion. As a port was close by it was decided to abandon ship and to evacuate passengers and most crew to the island and to get a tug to tow the vessel to another port for repairs. Unfortunately the ship suddenly capsized the next day.
A contributing factor for people getting killed next day is that the passenger and crew - almost 5 000 persons - evacuation system, developed by the ship owner with only two muster stations didn't work leaving 32 people behind. The 69 life rafts that could evacuate >1.000 persons were hardly used apparently because crew didn't know how to launch them. The complete life saving system had never really been tested - just bits and pieces.
The findings of the incident investigation indicate that the lifesaving equipment was only partially managed by assigned qualified crew members, i.e. Able Seafarers to Manage the lifeboats and Life Rafts (MAMS is the abbreviation of these seafarers certification in Italian) were lacking. If other crew members or staff were assigned to escort passengers to lifeboats and life rafts is not clear. There was a system in Italian what all crew should do but if the persons affected knew what to do or if it were ever checked is not clear. It appears that passengers had no idea that they could use life rafts when abandoning ship ... and this is evidently the fault of the Master (or the Chief Officer ... but not the company according Italian legal authorities).
The cause for the capsize is that the ship and the four sister ships were incorrectly built with 25 watertight doors in the hull enabling progressive flooding of intact compartments. The Italian Naval Register, RINA, was the classification society that checked the design and systems on behalf of the Italian maritime authorities and issued the M/S Costa Concordia (and sisters) an international passenger ship safety certificate and international safety management certificate in November 2011. The president of RINA, Gianni Scerni, resigned a few days after the incident. Certificates however do not make ships seaworthy.
The guilty parties for causing a shipwreck and manslaughter are the ship owner and the Italian maritime authorities allowing an unseaworthy ship (and four equally unseaworthy sister ships!) to trade. The Master and crew aboard and crisis manager ashore could not be blamed for the capsize! They were just doing their jobs when accident struck. Incorrect design, systems, instructions and staff produced disaster.
Strangely no underwater examination and survey of the half sunk ship was done to establish the condition of the ship after capsize, e.g. if it was worthwhile to salvage the ship one way or another.
M/S Costa Concordia was one of five very big Italian flag* (*Italian international or open register = Flag of Convenience) cruise vessels that could transport 3 780 passengers between European ports, just for fun served by about 1 100 crew members. 90% of the crew aboard was not Italian but poor, low paid Asians, East Europeans and South Americans not speaking Italian, the working language aboard. Some crew could speak English but didn't understand the English of the Italian officers aboard.
It appears that most crew didn't know the official language Italian aboard. It was not the fault of the Master.
The vessel was delivered 2006 and employed in European cabotage trading, i.e., the carriage of passengers by sea between ports in Member States of the European Union, as defined by EU Council Regulation no. 3577/92 of 7th December 1992 applying the principle of freedom to maritime transport within Member State and was not manned entirely by Italian/EU crews but with >800 underpaid non-EU, Asian and South American staff ... and you wonder how it was possible according to EU legislation. Aha - cheap foreign crews can be used, when the ship is registered in the Italian open international register. The working language on the Italian ship was evidently Italian, which the majority of the foreign crew didn't speak.
The ship, however, floated on its watertight hull with a double bottom as grounding protection.
The hull was very well subdivided by watertight bulkheads to ensure that the vessel floated in case of hull compartments being up-flooded due to collision or contact in the side above the double bottom. The top of the watertight hull was the bulkhead deck. Above the bulkhead deck was a weather tight superstructure with weather tight portholes and doors in the side and above the superstructure was the deck house with windows and balconies, where the passengers were accommodated.
49. - 25 watertight doors too many - ship not seaworthy
Openings are not permitted in watertight bulkheads in the hull per international safety rules (SOLAS) but, if one is fitted as an exception for any reason , e.g. "safe operation of the ship", must be fitted with a watertight door that is kept closed at sea and operated according strict procedures established by the maritime administration, in this case Italy. M/S Costa Concordia had 25 watertight doors installed without Formal Safety Assessment, FSA, and HAZOP. And no official instructions how to handle them!
Who could have designed this monster? Was Charles Arkinstall involved? When I worked with Charles long time ago I noticed he didn't understand the basic SOLAS rules. Charles later came to work for Carnival/Costa. Question remains why RINA approved the installation of 25 watertight doors. Doesn't RINA know the SOLAS rules?
M/S Costa Concordia was then certified by the Italian Maritime (International or open Flag) Administration (using RINA as agent) to carry almost 5 000 persons at sea or 3 780 passenger and 1 100 crew.
The Costa company internal instructions about watertight doors on all their ship can be read here (in Italian). It shows clearly that all Costa ships are not seaworthy, fitted with illegal watertight doors and operated with watertight doors open at sea, to be recorded in the log book, which is not done, etc, etc. Reason for this dangerous situation is incompetent ship owner and maritime authority not knowing better. Imagine that the whole Costa fleet is not seaworthy.
There should have been a working emergency and evacuation plan aboard, where, e.g. the 1 000+ foreign crew and 100+ Italian officers and staff could evacuate the 3 780 passengers on the ship in a fire or collision, but it is not clear how it was tested or trained. It seems the 3 780 passengers were supposed to gather at two (!) muster stations prior abandoning ship and would from there be escorted to the life saving appliances (boats/rafts). If the system worked or had been tested is not clear.
At the contact incident 13 January 2012 there were about 4 252 persons aboard or 84% of certified capacity (we are told). In event of abandoning ship 75% or 3 780 persons were supposed to use lifeboats, e.g. 24 boats for 150 persons and 2 for 90 persons on M/S Costa Concordia (exact details are unclear), and 25% or 1 220 persons were supposed to use life rafts, e.g. 48 rafts for 25 or 35 persons launched by 8 cranes (6 rafts/crane) (exact details are again unclear). Then there were, say 21 extra rafts for those jumping into the sea to swim to. Lifeboats were then assumed to tow life rafts to safety.
Evidently the Master alone is not responsible that 3 780 passengers and 1 100 crew/hotel staff can leave the ship in 60 minutes. The evacuation system is the responsibility of the ship owner, the crew, the designer of the ship and the Italian authorities. The stupid system was that 3 780 passengers were supposed to gather at two locations - muster stations - on the ship and from there to be directed to lifeboats and rafts by the crew. The evacuation system had apparently never been tested! To accuse the Master alone for manslaughter, when 32 persons drown and do not evacuate, is harsh, because the 26 lifeboats needed about 130 crew to be launched and handled (and not 52 as suggested somewhere). The 8 raft cranes needed about 40 crew to launch the 48 rafts. Another 100+ crew were supposed to physically check that every cabin, toilet and space aboard were empty and that everybody from age 0-100+ years of age was getting into lifeboats and rafts. When the abandon ship alarm was raised at 22.48 hrs, evidently the crew responsible for all 26 lifeboats would rush to them and lower their boats from the stored davit position down to the embarkation deck level, so that persons could embark into the boats. Same for the life raft cranes and the 60+ rafts. A raft should be attached to each crane hook and inflated to receive people to be dropped into the water. That may take 10 minutes to prepare. In the meantime other crewmembers gather all passengers at the muster stations to escort them to the lifeboats and the life rafts. Evidently this didn't happen. Crewmembers were missing or not trained. Then it would take some time to put 150 persons in a lifeboat and launch it. To put 25+ persons in a life raft would take 2-3 minutes and one minute to launch and another one minute to get the hook back up and fit and inflate another raft to it.
Why 26 passengers were left alone is clear. The responsible crew did not collect everybody. Many passengers on M/S Costa Concordia complained bitterly to media later that they were not told to gather at any muster stations but had to wait elsewhere to get evacuated or even sent back to their cabins and that it was probably the fault of the Master. And later it was clear that crewmembers were missing to launch lifeboats and life rafts. All the fault of the Master? No, but it is easy to blame the Master.
The passengers evidently didn't understand that it was the fault of the stupid system designed by the ship owner and approved by the Italian maritime administration but blame the Master. The Master could not possibly change that system alone.
The ship was 100% unseaworthy all the time as it could not evacuate its passengers and crew safely.
And the ship owner was aware of the defect.
Evidently you needed almost 300 trained crew to ensure that a 4 800 persons evacuation worked. It seems 23 lifeboats of 26 but only 6 (!) life rafts of 69 were used at the abandon ship operation January 13. Why 60 life rafts that could have saved >1 000 persons were not used is clear and has not been investigated. The seamen or crew to launch the life rafts were apparently not aboard! 12 persons were found drowned close to the starboard aft life raft launch station. Here is a picture of the starboard forward life raft station:
M/S Costa Concordia crew didn't know how to embark passengers into life rafts and to launch the rafts into the sea but made a mess of it and contributed to manslaughter. The picture above is of the starboard, forward life raft station probably around 00.00 hrs on 14 January, 2012. One inflated life raft is hanging in one crane arm, hopefully empty of passengers, but has not been dropped into the sea, another life raft, not inflated at all is also hanging in another crane arm. Six not used life rafts are still on the deck. You wonder how it could have happened. Were the rafts serviced and functional? Picture shows a crew member climbing down a ladder to reach a lifeboat. Actually, the lifeboats are supposed to connect to the life rafts after launch into the sea and tow them to safety. Costa Concordia capsized soon after ... but didn't crush the lifeboat. According Johan Franson, retired Director of Safety at Sea of Swedish Maritime Authority, the crew, not the Master, should, when cranes do not work, throw the rafts into the sea and ask passengers to jump into the cold sea and swim to the rafts! Evidently the crew must first check that the passenger can swim. Here is a picture of the port aft life raft station after capsize:
All persons climbing down on the ladder should have been evacuated much earlier using the rafts ... but the crew didn't know how to do it. Note one life raft container - hanging in the wire of the crane - at the waterline. It had been lowered ... not opened ... into the sea. A joke.
If the evacuation at sea of 5 000 (or 4 252) persons aboard had ever been tested and/or trained in reality is also clear. The system had never been tested! The Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports incident investigation report May 2013 about the incident does not say anything about these serious deficiencies! It just, ridiculously, makes big fuss about the Master at 01.00 hrs not swimming back to the ship after capsize 00.33 hrs on January 14 to check, if anybody was left.
Normally practical safety aboard, e.g. abandon ship, fire fighting, etc, is the responsibility of the 1st or Chief Officer together with the Chief Engineer and trained seamen. The basic plans are evidently made by the ship owner ashore. Crew came and went and it was a little chaotic. 27% of the crew (272 crew members out of 1023) had been replaced by the Company during the last six weeks. But nobody cared. Charts? Forget it. No port authority would stop a Costa or Carnival vessel! The ship was evidently not even built according international safety, SOLAS, rules.
M/S Costa Concordia had 25 watertight doors in the hull that were not supposed to be there. Illegal! But made it easier for the crew to move around. It is not the first time it happens (Johan Franson, see above, again producing unsafety at sea)!
The M/S Costa Concordia was not seaworthy at any time. The four still operating sister ships are equally unseaworthy. The fatal incident January 14, 2012 - capsize - was just bound to happen.
And it applies to the sister ships, too. And these dangerous ships continue to trade.
Reason? Incompetent ship owner and top management not really interested in safety at sea on big cruise ships! And flag maritime administration. And Port State Controls. And media! Media will not report the truth because then it cannot sell advertisements for dangerous cruising on unseaworthy ships.
There is no such thing as a seaworthiness certificate. The ship owner is responsible that the ship is seaworthy. M/S Costa Concordia should have had the following certificates to be able to trade and be prepared for Port State Control, flag state control and class inspections and to carry passengers.
1. Passenger Ship Safety Certificate - that vessel is in compliance with SOLAS safety at sea requirements, incl. radio and navigation equipment and stability instructions.
2. SOLAS exemption certificates - that when vessel does not comply with one or more particular SOLAS requirements (e.g. 25 illegal watertight doors), alternative arrangements provide equivalent safety at sea (to be explained).
3. International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate - that vessel is in compliance Marpol pollution prevention requirements, not only regarding oil but also sewage, garbage, etc.
4. International Load Line Certificate - that vessel is in compliance with ILLC requirements about operating draft, freeboard, openings/closing devices in hull, superstructure, deck house, Plimsoll mark, stability information, etc.
5. Tonnage certificates - different types to calculate port/canal fees.
6. International Safety Management Certificate - that vessel is in compliance with the ISM code with ship/shore job descriptions of all staff and procedures to be followed decided by the ship owner, i.e. Document of Compliance.
7. International Ship and Port Facility Security Code certificate - to ensure security aboard, e.g. against terrorists, pirates and gangsters.
8. ITF Blue card/certificate or similar - to ensure crew social welfare according the Maritime Labour Convention. It is likely that the non-Italian crew worked under illegal conditions.
9. The Classification certificate - that ship's structure, engines, pressure vessels, equipment, tanks, etc., are in order.
10. Others - cargo gear, elevators, medical, health, food handling, cleanliness of galley & store rooms, fire extinguishers, life rafts, etc.
Some certificates are valid five years subject to annual endorsements, some for shorter or longer durations. No certificate evidently guarantees that the ship is seaworthy.
Wednesday May 22, 2013, the Italian judge Pietro Molino, at a closed-door hearing in the town of Grosseto, agreed to prosecutors' request that only Capt. Francesco Schettino of Italy and M/S Costa Concordia be tried on charges of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel, while many (>300?) of its 4 252 passengers and crew were still aboard.
"It must be reiterated that the accused Schettino almost exclusively (sic) carries the weight for the striking chain of errors committed,"
the Grosseto state prosecutor's office said in a statement. So the Master is responsible for useless systems created by the ship owner Company and that the crew doesn't speak the working language aboard. Shall the Master teach the crew Italian?
The ship owner Costa Crocieri S.p.A/Carnival Corporation had already April 15, 2013 declared that Costa is a damaged party:
"After the poor victims, Costa is the most damaged party having lost a 500 million euro ship," Costa attorney Marco De Luca said. He said he is seeking damages from Schettino and the other defendants "as the penal code says 'who is guilty of a crime has to pay for it.'"
One serious problem, though, for the ship owner is that it is not a crime for a Master and crew, employed by the ship owner, to accidentally contact a hidden, submerged rock while executing a planned turn. Accidents happen. Any ship owner blaming his own crew for accidents has not really understood, what it means to be a ship owner with associated responsibilities.
The open to public trial was supposed to start July 9 (it started July 16) at Teatro Moderno at Grosseto with sessions following on 11, 12, 15 and 16 July. Another 60 sessions September to March 2014 were then planned until the case could be summed up in April 2014. The judge is Giovanni Puliatti. Imagine that - 10 months of trial of Schettino. The trial started with the prosecution presenting its witnesses and facts.
After a week proceedings were stopped for summer vacations to start 23 September. Evidently ...
"Schettino denies any charges, arguing that more than one person was to blame for what went wrong that night and that he has been made a convenient scapegoat for the tragedy given that within days of the disaster he had already been christened "Captain Coward" by the world's media. He says his manoeuvrings in response to the crash in fact saved lives."
It is evidently not a crime or illegal to commit professional errors on a ship, incl. M/S Costa Concordia resulting in an accident.
To assist the prosecution to understand the case Schettino informed that the helmsman failed to follow an order to steer left, causing a fatal 13-second delay as the ship approached the rocks:
"The delay was the result of this mistake."
However, the chairman of an expert witness panel, a military, admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, headmaster of the Italian Naval Academy at Livorno, said any delay appeared to be irrelevant:
"The ship would have hit the rocks in any case."
You really wonder how the admiral knows this and what happens before a confused accident. During 13 seconds the ship moved >100 meters. And there was only one aft end contact of the ship with one rock that lasted 8 seconds due to a last second's hard starboard manoeuvre swinging out the stern to port. Everyone seems to agree to that. Had the ship completed the turn 13 seconds earlier, it would have sailed clear! The question about seaworthiness has not been discussed. Media have reported:
The haunting question - Had everything aboard worked properly, would there have been fewer deaths? - goes beyond the court-ordered mandate of a panel of technical and marine experts in the case, who have refused to speculate. ...
Schettino's defence had therefore 25 September 2013 suggested that the ship's watertight doors did not function properly, and that is the or one reason the ship capsized, leading to the loss of 32 lives during the evacuation. The court agreed it was worth to investigate. This is good news! In French newspaper Le Figaro 11/12 January, 2014, Schettino, who attends every session of the trial, asked:
"Et pourquoi ne pas enquêter sur un armateur qui a construit un navire avec des portes étanches qui ne fonctionnaient pas?" (And why not investigate a ship owner who built a vessel with watertight doors that did not work?)
The January 14, 2012, capsize when persons died has so far not been discussed at any hearing. It seems much time in court by the prosecution is wasted on the January 13, 2012, accidental contact when nobody died.
Accidents happen. And the contact was a stupid accident.
Hopefully it will be shown at the Grosseto trial that nobody died on January 13, 2012, due to this accidental contact of the vessel, and that the capsize of same ship on January 14, 2012, killing 32 persons after an incomplete evacuation of passengers and crew, was due to open watertight doors causing progressive flooding of intact compartments and lack of competent crew aboard. The ship was simply not seaworthy. Evidently the prosecution will not say that.
Then the court adjourned to start again 9 October 2013.
End October a witness of the prosecution suggested - what a comedy - on stage at Teatro Moderno at Grosseto that she had had an affair with the Master. It was media headline news! What it had to do with the case is not clear, though.
It is normal practice on any passenger ship or Love Boat with plenty of female passengers and crew since more than hundred years that crew and passengers aboard take the opportunity to have simple affairs, i.e., to sleep together, mainly in the privacy of a cabin and at off crew work time/hours during the voyage. It is quite boring to sleep alone on any ship. Sex is much more fun at sea and does not harm anybody. Italian flag passenger ships used in the past to have a passenger chapel, a crew chapel and a ship's catholic chaplain to assist with religious duties, confessions and sins committed. If that were the case with L/B Costa Concordia is not clear. Media have not reported it. Anyway, most cruise ship Masters (and younger officers, too) are handsome and they use a standard trick to seduce pretty passengers, i.e. come spend the night with me or I will sink the ship. The pretty passenger then saves the ship from sinking ... and nobody gets hurt! Maybe the L/B Costa Concordia sinking started as a joke?
The witness also said she stayed, with the Master, on the bridge after the "crash" at 21.45 hrs until 24.00 hrs ... and then she left to save herself. It seems the Master didn't abandon ship before all the others. A year later the same witness has told popular media that the Master took her to the top deck waiting there 20 minutes to catch a helicopter ... that didn't arrive.
29 October 2013 media updated us from the court at Grosseto with its usual nonsense. Some examples:
"the ship collided with a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio, killing 32 people" (News.yahoo)
"the cruise ship ran aground off the north-west Italian coast." (BBC News)
"the vessel capsized & Some 32 people died when the boat hit a reef and partially sank on 13 January 2012 off the Tuscan island of Giglio." (The Guardian)
Nobody evidently was killed due to an alleged collision and no cruise ship ran aground but it is right that the vessel capsized but it was on 14 January, etc, etc. Media were more interested in how the Master entertained one female entertainer aboard. We are still awaiting when the court will discuss why life rafts were not used (lack of trained crew?) and how it was possible that the ship had 25 illegal watertight doors (faulty design?) without proper instructions ... and what media have to say about those defects.
The Costa Concordia and four sister ships were clearly not seaworthy due to 25 watertight doors and incompetent and badly trained crews employed by the ship owner and approved by a not very clever administration! Sending an unseaworthy ship to sea is illegal and a crime. Sending five unseaworthy ships to sea is a scandal. The prosecution evidently does not want to know about that.
Evidently Capt. Schettino is not responsible of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship, as the not seaworthy ship simply capsized due to an open watertight door and progressive flooding of dry compartments. The capsize was caused by progressive flooding due to incorrect design and certification of the ship - a responsibility of the ship owner and the maritime administration.
But it is easy to blame the Master. And forget the dangerous sister ships. That is the job of the prosecution.
But you should of course ask yourself why the prosecution does not condemn either the ship owner or the Italian maritime administration.
The fiasco is
still going on - read about
the very expensive salvage of the total loss
The operation is long behind schedule and costs are
high, >3 times above budget and the
irresponsible underwriters just pay and pay ... a
claim they should never have accepted in the first
place. The attempt to rotate the ship upright onto
six platforms installed on the sloping sea floor
took place 16 September 2013 - the starboard bilge
structure, around which rotation was supposed to
take place, collapsed but the ship was uprighted
anyway. 15 (!) extra
buoyancy tanks are then supposed to be attached
underwater to the damaged starboard side.
Such a thing has never been done before. A ship
shall drop or tow each tank - weight ~370 tonnes -
into the water and the fully submerged tank shall
then be pulled against the ship underwater
and be secured to the ship - underwater - by
wires and chains below the bottom of the ship and
attached to the ship on the port side. Re-floating
and towing away the heap of scrap still full of
water is then not due until summer 2014, if it is
possible. The ship may fall apart in the meantime.
And only six tanks or less would
evidently will not publish such
news. A much
simpler, safer and more economic way to salvage the
ship using established means was not
The fiasco is still going on - read about the very expensive salvage of the total loss ship. The operation is long behind schedule and costs are high, >3 times above budget and the irresponsible underwriters just pay and pay ... a claim they should never have accepted in the first place. The attempt to rotate the ship upright onto six platforms installed on the sloping sea floor took place 16 September 2013 - the starboard bilge structure, around which rotation was supposed to take place, collapsed but the ship was uprighted anyway.
15 (!) extra buoyancy tanks are then supposed to be attached underwater to the damaged starboard side. Such a thing has never been done before. A ship shall drop or tow each tank - weight ~370 tonnes - into the water and the fully submerged tank shall then be pulled against the ship underwater and be secured to the ship - underwater - by wires and chains below the bottom of the ship and attached to the ship on the port side. Re-floating and towing away the heap of scrap still full of water is then not due until summer 2014, if it is possible. The ship may fall apart in the meantime. And only six tanks or less would suffice.
Media evidently will not publish such news.
A much simpler, safer and more economic way to salvage the ship using established means was not considered.
19 November 2013 Daily Telegraph reported about the progress of the prosecution from the Grosseto trial:
Capt Schettino denied having any intention to take his own life, ... that while standing on the rocks (after the capsize) he was speaking to Gregorio De Falco, an officer from the Italian coast guard.
So it seems the prosecution had suggested that guilt of any kind would be ... to commit suicide.
On 18/19 December, 2013, UPI and Digital Journal reported that First Officer Ciro Ambrosio was in charge on the bridge, when the planned turn was going to be executed away from Giglio Island. Ambrosio:
"But he (Schettino) did not immediately speak the phrase 'I'm taking control,' which signals a change in command. However, given the way he positioned himself, I assumed he had taken command and I thought I was no longer in charge. Then, since the captain was distracted, and we were getting closer to Giglio, I (Ambrosio) gave orders to the helmsman. He (Schettino) was on the telephone with (retired Costa Capt. Mario) Palombo. Even though I (Ambrosio) had finished my shift, I felt I had to retake command in order to give orders to the helmsman to start our approach to Giglio Island, which was getting closer."
This is a new version (and not reported in the Italian incident investigation report) what happened on the bridge prior the accidental contact, when nobody was killed. Both Master and Chief Officer giving orders to the poor helmsman.
It will be interesting to read future media reports, why >300 persons were still aboard, when the ship capsized around 00.34 hrs on 14 January, 2012, after having contacted a submerged rock at 21.45 hrs on 13 January, 2012. Why weren't these >300 persons evacuated using the life rafts or the lifeboats? If Abandon Ship order was given at 23.00 hrs, when the ship was floating and stable, the crew had 90 minutes to launch the all life rafts and rescue >1 000 persons before capsize after 00.30 hrs the next day. And it didn't happen. Why? Aha, crew was missing and didn't know how to evacuate the passengers.
End 2013 we had only heard the prosecution's side of what happened at the two incidents at the Grosseto trial, mainly about what happened before the first incident - the contact on 13 January 2012, when nobody died. The prosecution has not produced any evidence during 2013 that Schettino alone caused a ship wreck and manslaughter and abandoned the ship too early after the capsize on 14 January 2012. This is good news. I assume 2014 will be a Happy New Year for Captain Schettino.
On 13 January 2014 survivors of the capsized M/S Costa Concordia were commemorating the second anniversary of the capsize off Tuscany that killed 32 people with a moment of silence in the Italian courtroom where the captain is on show trial according CTV News.
"Judges and survivors alike stood in silence Monday morning inside the theatre-turned courtroom where Capt. Francesco Schettino stands accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the Concordia before all passengers had been evacuated. He says he's innocent and saved lives.
CTC News has not understood that the ship capsized 00.34 a.m. Jan. 14 after an accidental contact on Jan. 13 during a planned change of heading away from the island that was badly executed by the helmsman and the crew in the wheelhouse. Abandon ship was incomplete due to lack of skilled crew aboard to lower all lifeboats and to launch life rafts.
Outside in the street of Grosseto in Tuscany a few dozen protesters rallied, near the courtroom, where Francesco Schettino was on trial for manslaughter and allegedly abandoning the ship before all the passengers had been evacuated. Massimiliano Gabrielli, a lawyer representing some of the survivors said:
"There is a lack of safety on these ships. This trial is showing that the emergency systems that should have guaranteed passenger safety did not work,"
Gabrielli is right. And nothing has been done to improve safety on the other ships during two years.
The trial is still going on May 2014 with surviving passengers testimonies and nobody knows when it will be terminated. It has still not been established if the ship was seaworthy with sufficient crew aboard. There is no evidence shown so far that the Master caused a shipwreck and manslaughter and had abandoned the ship.
M/S Costa Concordia survived the up flooding of four watertight compartments above the double bottom aft due to an accidental contact in the port side on January 13, 2012, and floated, albeit with increased draft and 6 meters stern trim, with positive stability and the bulkhead deck above water for a couple of hours, so that 99% or 4 220 of all persons aboard could be evacuated. In the mean time the vessel had drifted against the shore. The forward bilge touched a coral reef and the aft bilge touched another coral reef. The ship was not aground. Between the contact points there was quite deep water amidships. The ship was floating and stable and not aground.
On January 14, 2012, 00.34 a.m. the vessel suddenly capsized and heeled 90° starboard towards and crashed onto the shallow draft shore that prevented further heeling upside down and all intact watertight hull compartments were down-flooded and the ship sank. 32 persons still aboard drowned due to the capsize and sinking.
~35% of the ship remained above water.
Before capsize the forward starboard bilge was touching ground at ~7 meters draft and the aft starboard bilge was touching ground at ~11 meters draft. There was no grounding. The vessel's flat bottom was not stuck on the sea floor. After a while the floating, not grounded, ship capsized 90° and the forward starboard deck house top side PF crushed against the granite ground/coral reef at <7 meters depth and the aft deck house top side PA crushed against the granite ground/coral reef at <11 meters depth and the ship's side was pushed in and ripped open.
Then all hull compartments were down flooded and the whole side of the ship from bilge to top deck touched the rocky ground forward PF and aft PA at ~65° list.
Then the listing/sinking ship was sliding away and down another six meters from the shore on the sea floor further damaging and pushing in the starboard side structure from bilge to top deck also cracking the bilge and flat bottom structure. This destruction actually slowed down the ship that otherwise would have continued to slide away from shore to disappear completely below water.
So the ship came to a halt at ~65° heel and ~65% submerged at 01.00 hrs January 14, 2012.
More damages to the ship side structure have taken place since then due to wave action and ship movements.
Only fools believed that the M/S Costa Concordia was undamaged under water on the starboard side and in the bottom after capsizing and sliding away on the sea floor 14 January, 2012.
Strangely no underwater examination and survey of the half sunk ship was done to establish the condition of the ship after capsize, e.g. if it was worthwhile to salvage the ship one way or another.
When the ship was up righted 17 September, 2013, we could see:
The starboard forward deck house side at PF is severely crushed or pushed in in contact with the sea floor at 7 meters depth and the aft deck house side at PA is seen less crushed/pushed in in contact with the sea floor at 11 meters depth, while the intermediate P area is not crushed at all, i.e. it never touched the sea floor at >20 meters depth. The forward end right of PF is now sagging down like the aft end left of PA, which is due to ship's bottom being buckled. The ends of the ship may fall off anytime. Weather since up righting has been good (3 October 2013). Bad winter storms may apply wave forces that fracture the structure and ... the ends drop off. Underwater examination is now required to establish the actual condition of the hull and superstructure/deck house side at PF and PA below water. Attaching, e.g. 15 sponson tanks to this damaged side during the winter 2013/14 for later refloating, may be ... difficult. And there are simpler, better, less expensive, faster solutions to proceed (see part 11).
After capsize and sinking the heeling vessel rested on the two coral reef outreaches with deep water in between close to shore. 40% of the deck house was above water. If anybody had remained in the engine room, he/she could have walked out through the port side damage hole above water.
On February 7, 2013, Masamichi Morooka, International Chamber of Shipping, commented:
"& IMO is under increasing pressure to take forward far more radical steps in advance of Italy publishing the complete results of its accident investigation, which it has still singularly failed to do. Given the seriousness of the disaster, which happened over a year ago, this failure by Italy is simply unacceptable. We still have no official understanding of what the underlying causes were with respect to an accident that really should never have happened."
On February 23, 2013, the Master Francesco Schettino, the ship's hotel director Manrico Giampedroni, the Costa Cruises fleet crisis coordinator Roberto Ferrarini (working ashore at Genoa - having a similar job I had for many years with another company) and several other persons were charged with many crimes incl. causing capsize and manslaughter, because an Italian prosecutor believes (sic) that they caused the ship to capsize killing people ... in spite of the hand of God preventing the capsize for three hours according same prosecutor - a miracle! On March 23, 2013 a judge at Grosseto, at the request of the Prosecutor, ordered the seizure of movable and immovable property of three suspects in the investigation into the sinking of the Costa Concordia: the Master Francesco Schettino, the hotel director Manrico Giampedroni and the fleet crisis coordinator Roberto Ferrarini.
Schettino and Ferrarini (it could have been me) had discussed on telephone what to do starting 21.58 hrs.
Already at 21.55 hrs Schettino had told the passengers via the Public Announcement, PA, system that there was a Black-out. This message was repeated via PA at 22.06 hrs. A very late call from an engine room official was logged at 22.09 hrs, or almost 25 minutes after the contact. The engine crew told, a little late to say the least, Schettino that the hull had been gashed and water had flowed in.
At 22.33 hrs the General Alarm was given, also via PA, and at 22.36 hrs all passengers were told, via PA, to go to the Muster Stations. The latter announcement was repeated at 22.43 hrs to prepare for leaving the ship. If the passengers knew, what and where a Muster Station is, has never been established. At 22.54 hrs the order to abandon ship was given via PA, i.e. to embark into the lifesaving appliances.
At 23.12 hrs Schettino told Ferrarini that evacuation was almost done and heel was 20°. It seems the incomplete evacuation was done very fast.
A secret trial, public could not attend, started April 15 at Grosseto but ended April 17 for unknown reasons in order to re-start 14 May! Later the trial was postponed to 9 July and only Schettino was to appear. The trial started 16 July. Then stopped for summer vacation and supposed to start again 23 September.
But already on July 20, 2013, Ferrarini (it could have been me) was sentenced to 34 months in jail for, ashore at Genoa, having advised Schettino aboard to evacuate the ship on January 13, 2012. Nobody had died then and the ship was floating. But the crazy Italian judge considers Ferrarini guilty of serious crimes.
The confusing statements of the ship owner as an injured party or victim can be read here. The ship owner seems to believe that he is not responsible for anything, ship, safety, systems, crew, etc, and that valid certificates means that a ship with 25 illegal watertight doors and a crew that does not understand the working language Italian aboard and has not trained evacuation and abandon ship is seaworthy and that the ship owner shall only collect money from the passengers. Apparently the charts used were not correct and correct charts were not supplied at departure. Should the Master have stopped the ship awaiting correct charts? Or bought them himself?
If they - the accused are guilty is discussed in this presentation. It is evident that they are not guilty causing capsize and manslaughter, as prosecutors and media believe.
Reason is that it is certain that the ship (and her sisters) was a floating death trap and not seaworthy at all times due to an incompetent crew not speaking and/or understanding Italian supplied by the ship owner and incorrect watertight doors (causing the capsize and manslaughter!) fitted by the shipyard at the ship owner request and approved by the Italian maritime administration and operated incorrectly, which is explained here and here and elsewhere below.
"7 xxxxxThe immediate flooding of five watertight compartments, where most of the vital equipment of the ship was located, makes the Costa Concordia casualty quite a unique event. The extent of damage is well beyond the survivability standard applicable to the ship according to her keel laying date.
Actually only four watertight compartments were partly flooded (double bottom generally intact) due to the contact and the damaged condition was stable with sufficient buoyancy. The Master was very happy about that.
The final casualty investigation report issued in May 2013 is very poor and contains same erroneous information presented as facts. IMO was represented, as an observer, on the body overseeing the casualty investigation, but will not inform who it was and what Italians wrote the misleading report.
On April 26 2013 the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have made a joint submission to the IMO commenting on the apparent failure of some flag states to submit maritime casualty reports to the organization, e.g. Italy about the M/S Costa Concordia. This is a requirement under several international maritime conventions, including the Safety of Life at Sea convention (SOLAS).
The lack of investigation and accident reports hinders the development of appropriate measures by IMO to address the cause of serious incidents in which seafarers may have lost their lives
said ITF acting general secretary, Stephen Cotton.
It also frustrates efforts by ship operators to learn from the reports and to amend or develop new procedures, or implement other measures to prevent or mitigate similar future incidents
said ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe.
ICS and ITF have therefore suggested that further consideration might be given by IMO to the extent to which flag states should retain the latitude which they currently enjoy when determining whether the results of any investigation should be submitted to IMO.
The European Maritime Safety Agency, EMSA, is one of the EU's decentralized agencies. Based in Lisbon, the Agency provides technical assistance and support to the European Commission and Member States in the development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, pollution by ships and maritime security. It has also been given operational tasks in the field of oil pollution response, vessel monitoring and in long range identification and tracking of vessels. EMSA has done nothing about the Costa Concordia incident, not even putting it in its casualty register.
Safety at sea is primarily the responsibility of the maritime administration of the ship and the ship owner and his staff ashore and aboard. Blaming an innocent, unlucky ship master or some staff ashore before a correct accident investigation is done, discussed and agreed does not improve safety at sea.
It is evidently a scandal that the investigation report, neither dated nor signed, by the Italian Marine Casualty Investigation Central Board, MCICB, is only available 16 months after the accident, and that the proximate cause of the second, fatal incident, the capsize, is not established so that preventive measures can be taken to improve safety at sea, e.g. close all watertight doors permanently and/or prevent incompetent ship owners to operate unseaworthy ships. To, on one hand, blame another party for the delay - the criminal court and its prosecutors at Grosseto - having confiscated evidence like the VDR during 9 months and, on the other hand, making ridiculous proposals of SOLAS changes before the casualty report is issued, discussed and agreed, don't add up.
The MCICB suggests that the contact damage was 60 meters long and that five watertight compartments #4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 were immediately up-flooded on January 13, 2012.
that were the case the ship would have capsized at
once and all aboard drowned!
If that were the case the ship would have capsized at once and all aboard drowned!
Early information also suggests that only three hull compartments, #4, 5 and 6, were up-flooded at the contact incident but that a fourth, #7, was progressively flooded via an open, watertight door (#7) and that the ship was then stable with sufficient buoyancy enabling mustering and abandoning ship. Later a fifth compartment (#3 or 8) was apparently slowly, progressively flooded (a new incident!) through another open, illegal watertight door (e.g. #10 and or 6) reducing stability (GZ) ... and the ship capsized at 00.34 hrs on January 14 ... killing people and causing a ship wreck.
Photo Anders Björkman
MCICB has not investigated this possibility or the 25 (!) faulty, watertight doors on Costa Concordia!
Another scandal is that, if you search the IMO passenger ship safety web site about watertight doors, you get ... We did not find any results for watertight doors.
I asked MCICB to clarify in light of the fatal capsize some basic issues:
1. Did an open watertight door (and not the Master) proximately cause the fatal capsize?
2. Was the design of the vessel correct, e.g. can a cruise vessel like M/S Costa Concordia (and sisters) really have 25 watertight doors in the bulkheads below the bulkhead deck according SOLAS?
3. Was the operational procedure under SOLAS enforced e.g. that, if one watertight door was permitted by the maritime administration, was correct instructions how to handle this sole door issued and was it kept closed by the crew at sea?
4. Was the emergency procedures under SOLAS enforced, e.g. instructions followed to ensure one permitted watertight door was closed and that all persons aboard were mustered to evacuate?
5. What about the Costa Concordia Fast Rescue Boats? Were they used? No, luckily they were not provided. Useless FRBs are only required on ropax vessels.
6. Is it good practice and safe to accommodate most crew in the hull below the bulkhead deck with only one escape to the superstructure?
7. Was mustering, evacuation and abandon ship with full capacity passengers/crew aboard ever tested, trained and documented?
A basic HAZOP using Formal Safety Assessment evidently confirms that just the existence of one watertight door increases the risks and consequences many times to unacceptable levels.
Underwriters could then consider, if a ship, not being built and operated according SOLAS, remains insurable.
Had the vessel been fitted with a, e.g. 1 meter wide cofferdam in the hull side (double side!) nothing serious would have happened due to the contact. Maybe only one watertight compartment would have been flooded?
The MCICB report was published May 2013 and does not address the questions above. MCICB does not reply to inquiries. The report concludes by
"This report is not written for the purpose of litigation and will not be eligible for use in any judicial proceedings whose purpose, or one of whose purposes is to assign responsibility or accusation."
This is obvious. The report is not signed and contains many factual errors and no evidence for many suggestions.
I went back to Isola del Giglio January 13, 2013 to attend the memorial events and listen. Roberto Ferrarino having the same job I did for many years (in another, serious cruise company) was accused of manslaughter! It could have been me! It is very easy to manipulate a passenger ship accident investigation, invent anything or everything and blame/sentence and jail innocent people or just let criminal people escape. The M/V Estonia investigation 1994-1997 is not a unique example. This one is another!
Sky News had just very optimistically reported that salvors thought:
"The stricken ship Costa Concordia will be removed from the Italian coast between June and September 2013. ... Originally, they had hoped to have it removed in the spring 2013."
The ship was at this time still in exactly the same place, where she sank a year before January 14, 2012 and there was little sign that it could be removed at all. The ferry to Giglio island was not full of people or lawyers, attorneys and solicitors. At 10.00 am the big rock that apparently made the port side hull structural damages was repositioned on the sea floor outside Isola del Scole. Relatives of victims, invited by Costa, deposited flowers in sea there. Evidently nobody died at the contact outside Isola del Scole, so why deposit flowers there? Feed the fish? At 11.00 am there was a ceremony at the church, where, after a mass, framed certificates of thanks were handed out to Italian admirals, generals and high civil servants of various rescue teams having assisted to receive the survivors, to find a bed on the island and later to send the 4 200 survivors home - the next day. A memorial, dated January 13 (?), in honour of the 32 dead was unveiled at the harbour master's office in the afternoon.
In the evening at 21.45.07 hrs sirens were blown and there was a silent minute at the port. The contact occurred at 21.45.07 hrs a year earlier! But nobody died then. What kind of ceremony was this? Michelle Kosinski, NBC, reported but forgot that people didn't die until the next day.
The ship owner Costa Crociere
SpA, the Italian unit of Miami-based Carnival
several passengers a
letter telling them
they were not invited to the official
anniversary ceremonies Jan. 13, 2013, on the
island of Giglio, where the hulking ship still
rests on the coral reef. Costa said the day was
focused on the families of the 32 people who died
Jan. 13, 2012 (sic),
passengers and crew who survived. Costa chief executive officer
Michael Thamm wrote in the letter obtained
by The Associated Press. He expressed sympathies to the
survivors and said he trusted that their thoughts
and prayers Evidently there were no problems
at all to accommodate 4 200 people on the
island and bring 4 200 people from the island
on January 14, 2012! In a TV interview broadcast in
the afternoon the Master said that the helmsman
Jacob Rusli Bin and a watch keeping officer
contributed to the accident. Schettino said Bin had
misunderstood his steering orders.
The ship owner Costa Crociere SpA, the Italian unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp., sent several passengers a letter telling them they were not invited to the official anniversary ceremonies Jan. 13, 2013, on the island of Giglio, where the hulking ship still rests on the coral reef. Costa said the day was focused on the families of the 32 people who died Jan. 13, 2012 (sic), not the 4.200 passengers and crew who survived.
Costa chief executive officer Michael Thamm wrote in the letter obtained by The Associated Press.
He expressed sympathies to the survivors and said he trusted that their thoughts and prayers
Evidently there were no problems at all to accommodate 4 200 people on the island and bring 4 200 people from the island on January 14, 2012!
In a TV interview broadcast in the afternoon the Master said that the helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin and a watch keeping officer contributed to the accident.
Schettino said Bin had misunderstood his steering orders.
"If the helmsman had understood correctly, the ship would have sailed past and nothing would have happened. If we had not turned, we would not have contacted anything,"
"The person in charge of the radar was supposed to say that we had land in front of us. I was told that we were fine."
You should wonder if the crew supplied by the ship owner was really up to standards. He added:
"I join in the suffering of all the
victims, of the relatives of the
victims." It seems that most people had
forgotten that all deaths occurred after 00.34 am
the next day, Jan. 14, 2012, when the ship
capsized and sank outside the
port of the island. But at 00.34 am nothing was
done at Porto Giglio. The capsize and sinking
January 14, 2012 when 32 people drowned was
conveniently forgotten. Schettino
It seems that most people had forgotten that all deaths occurred after 00.34 am the next day, Jan. 14, 2012, when the ship capsized and sank outside the port of the island. But at 00.34 am nothing was done at Porto Giglio.
The capsize and sinking January 14, 2012 when 32 people drowned was conveniently forgotten.
Heiwa Co always recommends a very careful examination and survey of the hull, bulkheads and watertight doors of the ship to establish whether the ship was seaworthy! Before it is destroyed. In order to improve safety at sea incidents must be correctly investigated. Blaming innocent people does not improve safety at sea. And what safety instructions were given? Maybe the whole company, the ship owner and the top management are to blame!
Do not suggest I produce "unintelligent gibberish based on unscientific methods by an unreasonable person" as some corrupt Swedish civil servants did back in 1996 to cover up the sinking of an unseaworthy ferry killing almost 1 000 persons, where the basic safety rule was to jump overboard and swim somewhere in case of an incident. Luckily that was not the case on M/S Costa Concordia. There were lifeboats and life rafts for all even if the rafts were not used. The problem was still open watertight doors.
Mr. Leporatti (legal counsel of Capt. Schettino) said soon after the incidents:
"some emergency pumps and the watertight doors of the Costa Concordia did not work, which may have caused the ship to list heavily to starboard. The vessel was designed to sink (sic) symmetrically".
You should wonder, if the Italian flag ship, designed to sink (!), were seaworthy prior departure! Ship? More a low powered, slow, ugly pontoon with a 1 600 rooms luxury hotel with restaurants, casinos, theatres, swimming pools, gyms and playrooms, etc. built on top that leisurely went around western Mediterranean in cold winter time, between ports of three European Union countries offering cheap cruises with the foreign (Asia, S. America, E. Europe), under-paid, over-worked, non-Italian speaking crew accommodated deep down below in the pontoon ... in the holds ... connected by watertight doors.
Here is a preliminary time table of the two incidents and the development of the angle of list by the Italian Marine Casualty Investigation Central Board:
The Contact was apparently an accident due to bad navigation that killed nobody. Some hull compartments were up flooded causing a Black out but the floating ship was stable. Abandon ship was necessary but not done completely due to lack of skilled crew. The Capsize was apparently caused by open watertight doors and progressive flooding of intact compartments followed by Sinking (a third incident ending at ~03.00 hrs) and loss of lives caused by down flooding of all hull compartments. The responsibility for the Capsize and loss of lives is explained in this analysis in 12 parts: