Saturday, 14 January 2012

Costa Concordia

I have just turned on the TV news and heard about the sinking of the MV Costa Concordia. Having just returned from a cruise aboard P&O's MV Arcadia, this was a shock, and my condolences and sympathy goes out to the families of those people who have lost their lives.

P&O insist that everyone on one of their cruises attends a safety briefing before the ship sets sail ... and although seasoned cruise passengers like me have been through it many times before, we always go. We assemble in our muster stations, where we are told what the emergency signal is (seven short blast followed by one long blast on the ship's alarm system) and that when we hear it we are to go to our cabins to collect our lifejackets or – if that is not possible – to go to our muster station where we will be issued with one. We should then remain there until the emergency is over or until the order to abandon ship is given. In the latter case we would be escorted by crew members to an appropriate lifeboat or life raft.

Assuming that the same procedure was followed by the crew of the Costa Concordia (and this would be in accordance with the international SOLAS [Safety Of Life At Sea] regulations) it would appear that this accident either happened too quickly for the proper procedure to take place or the procedure was not followed correctly. It is too early to speculate why this accident happened or why lives were lost ... but one hopes that whatever the reason, lessons will be learnt.


  1. Bob,

    According to the accounts that I've read, the safety briefing was scheduled for the next day . . . but one passenger had been on the ship since the previous Sunday and said that they had never had one during that time.

    I gather that they pick up passengers at different ports . . . and perhaps because of that only have a safety briefing once a week.

    But, like you, I feel for all who sailed on her.

    -- Jeff

  2. Bluebear Jeff,

    I have never travelled with Costa Cruises, but I have been on cruises where we were moored alongside one of their ships ... and I was not impressed with what I saw.

    All announcements were made in five languages (I could hear them clearly inside my cabin, with the balcony door shut!) but none of them covered safety. They also failed to scan passengers and crew as they came aboard, and I saw crew operating tenders without any safety equipment being worn.

    According to P&O it is a requirement of international law that we have to attend a safety briefing before we sail, and I am surprised to hear that Costa Cruises does not do the same. If anyone has died because there was no safety briefing, I hope that whoever was responsible is made to put on trial for manslaughter.

    One thing that I don't understand is why damage to the port side of the ship caused the ship to tilt to starboard. The only things that I can think is that either they tried to counter-flood the ship to keep her upright or there is also damage to the starboard side of the ship.

    All the best,



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