M/S Costa Concordia capsized in shallow waters 14 January, 2012, and 32 persons drowned
Half an hour after midnight 14 January, 2012, the Italian flag of convenience, international register cruise ship M/S Costa Concordia capsized in shallow waters outside the island of Isola del Giglio, Italy. The floating vessel suddenly lost stability, crashed onto the shore at ~90° heel starboard and the floating hull was down flooded, while the top of ship's deckhouse was resting on the sea floor at ~6 meters depth a little off the shore:
At 00.35 hrs onwards capsized M/S Costa Concordia was floating with 90° heel with deckhouse resting on the sea floor a little off the shore while hull was down flooded. Evidently the ship was not aground before capsize occurred. >300 persons were still aboard, most of them on the flat upper side still trying to get off
The ship's hull then sank on the
sloping rocky sea floor with ~65° heel and
slid down and away from shore 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 on 14 January,
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 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. Until then
Schettino must of course be considered
innocent. The M/S
Costa Concordia morning January 14, 2012. Did the
Captain Francesco Schettino alone really
produce this situation killing people? Note life
rafts still hanging in the cranes forward and aft.
Why weren't they dropped into the water and
released? Three life boats were also not launched.
Why? Lack of skilled crew handling
The ship's hull then sank on the sloping rocky sea floor with ~65° heel and slid down and away from shore 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 on 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 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. Until then Schettino must of course be considered innocent.
The M/S Costa Concordia morning January 14, 2012. Did the Captain Francesco Schettino alone really produce this situation killing people? Note life rafts still hanging in the cranes forward and aft. Why weren't they dropped into the water and released? Three life boats were also not launched. Why? Lack of skilled crew handling them?
Two hours and 45 minutes earlier, on 13 Janauary, 2012, there had been an accidental contact between a rock, maybe >100 meters off the island and six meters below water, and the ship. We are told that the ship was under way in front of the island and executing a planned 58° starboard change of heading by turning the rudders.
Nobody died at the 8 seconds accidental contact. The port aft side of the ship was just 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. What exactly led to the accidental contact of the ship with a hidden rock and who is responsible are 22 months later not clarified. It would appear that the vessel was not seaworthy.
After the 13 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
These actions should have been more or less automatic and should have taken maximum 60 minutes after the proper order was given but you need ~300 trained crewmembers and hotel staff to abandon a cruise vessel and all of them were not aboard! Another problem was that most passengers didn't know what a muster station was.
Lack of skilled and correctly paid crew = not seaworthy
The shipowner had not provided the necessary 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 would never report 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 shipowner. The Master probably didn't dare to criticize the shipowner 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.
Up flooding: the filling of water of a hull compartment from below through, e.g. a hull leakage due to a stupid contact.
Progressive flooding; the filling of water of an intact hull compartment from an adjacent, up flooded compartment, via, e.g. an open, watertight door.
Down flooding: the filling of water of an intact hull compartment from above, e.g. when the top of the compartment is below water due to excessive heeling, e.g. after the capsize of the ship.
Contact: vessel touching some fixed object causing structural damage to the hull.
Capsize: floating vessel losing stability, e.g. due to free water in the hull, and heeling >90°.
Seaworthy: A seaworthy vessel provides its crew and passengers a safe place to work and live and is equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment, safe recreation facilities and a competent and trained crew.
25 illegal watertight doors = not seaworthy
The shipowner 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; otherwise the floating and stable ship would not have capsized.
Media reporting fantasies for almost two years
Media has since January 2012 never reported the above defects causing capsize, sinking and manslaughter.
Media still, 29 October 2013, reports 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 shipowner Costa Crociere, S.p.A., Genova, 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!
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 shipowner 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 shipowner 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 shipowner 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 shipowner is responsible that the ship is seaworthy.
The Master is innocent. The ship was not seaworthy
Safety at sea - my business - is the responsibility of shipowners and the maritime administrations that develop, decide, apply and enforce the rules. The new rules 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.
To keep it simple. The shipowner 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.
Seaworthiness is a strict liability warranty that imposes an absolute duty on the shipowner to provide a vessel and related equipment that is "reasonably fit for their intended use."
The shipowner 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 ridiculous salaries under slave conditions. The Master aboard is then responsible for the operations at sea as instructed by the shipowner and according ISM instructions. Evidently the shipowner writes the ISM descriptions. Regular, external and internal ISM audits then verify and ensure that the ship is seaworthy.
If the ship is not seaworthy and something goes wrong at sea, the shipowner cannot blame the Master.
An honest shipowner 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 shipowner having put this Master in charge of a valuable ship full of passengers? In this case the shipowner appears to have forced the Master to operate a not seaworthy ship. Probably the same applies to the other ships of the shipowner!
Poor Management Skills, weak Communications
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 quite dangerous and not operated according any proper ISM descriptions. To hide these damaging facts the M/S Costa Concordia shipowner 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 does not mention seaworthiness at all since the two incidents took place.
Schettino was just doing his job as told by the shipowner, 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 was involved with the stupid contact, an accident that occurred on 13 January, 2012 but nobody died then.
the contact been a little more severe,
4 250+ human beings incl. Schettino had died
at once as explained below and the shipowner had
been held responsible! Don't forget that. And Costa
Concordia is just one of many recent
As little is done to improve safety at sea, the
next incident will be worse.
Had the contact been a little more severe, 4 250+ human beings incl. Schettino had died at once as explained below and the shipowner had been held responsible! Don't forget that. And Costa Concordia is just one of many recent Carnival/Costa cruise ship incidents. As little is done to improve safety at sea, the next incident will be worse.
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 trained 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 shipowner is responsible for that. Therefore the Master is innocent of manslaughter, capsize and producing a ship wreck. The guilty parties are evidently the shipowner 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 shipowner) and a general culture of poor communication in the shipping company. The wreck was removed and scrapped.
seems that M/S Costa Concordia capsized and sank 14
January 2012 outside Isola del Giglio in the
Mediterranean Sea for the same reason as
in the Baltic Sea 28 September 1994!
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
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 seamen. One
difference though - at M/S Costa Concordia all
dead bodies in the wreck 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
It seems that M/S Costa Concordia capsized and sank 14 January 2012 outside Isola del Giglio in the Mediterranean Sea for the same reason as M/S Estonia in the Baltic Sea 28 September 1994!
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 wreck 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.
BOW IS FLIPPING UP/DOWN!
WRECK IS TOO DAMAGED TO BE SALVAGED The
half sunk wreck of M/S Costa Concordia was after
months of delays parbuckled
2013 by a US/Italian salvage company. Of course 70%
of the wreck is still hidden 30 meters below water
after the up righting. The bow is hanging above a
deep ravine in the seafloor. Nick
the 52-year-old engineer in charge of salvaging the
wreck 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
Nick was wrong. It would appear that the big
forward part of the wreck is today flipping up/down
and not really securely connected to the rest of
the wreck due to structural failures in the bottom
caused by up righting. 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
has therefore decided 7 October 2013 to the
of an additional hold-back system to avoid
movements of the 9 000 tons heavy
whatever that means except that the bow
moves. Source:http://static2.businessinsider.com/image/52385c3aeab8eadd4ad28250-1200-600/costa-concordia-aerial-view-6.jpg Costa
Concordia with 11 sponsoon tanks on port side
almost ready to be rotated upright September 2013.
These tanks, except the two tall ones, will then be
fully submerged below water. Four more tanks, P1
and P2 forward and P14 and P15 aft will be attached
underwater later onto the beams already
fitted + 15 tanks will be attached on the other
side - also
explain in Part
of this article how Nick managed to up right the
wreck 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 wreck 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 up righting September 2013.
the 4+15 sponsoon tanks have been attached
12-30 meters under water to the
damaged hull of the M/S Costa Concordia
wreck winter 2013/2014 by 499 salvage
workers working 24/7 and if the wreck has
been refloated 2014, i.e. lifted off the
sea floor using the sponsoon tanks, so the
draught of the wreck/tanks is <15.9
meters, it is the intention, as a
possibility, to use heavy lift ship M/S
Dockwise Vanguard to completely lift the
wreck above water! It will only cost US$
30 million. Then the wreck will be
transported somewhere inside Italy end
2014. If it works the project that was
supposed to take 10 months and cost $300
million May 2012 will have taken 30 months
and cost >1 000 million. At least.
BOW IS FLIPPING UP/DOWN! WRECK IS TOO DAMAGED TO BE SALVAGED
The half sunk wreck of M/S Costa Concordia was after months of delays parbuckled upright 16/17 September 2013 by a US/Italian salvage company. Of course 70% of the wreck is still hidden 30 meters below water after the up righting. The bow is hanging above a deep ravine in the seafloor.
Nick Sloane, the 52-year-old engineer in charge of salvaging the wreck 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. It would appear that the big forward part of the wreck is today flipping up/down and not really securely connected to the rest of the wreck due to structural failures in the bottom caused by up righting. 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 has 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.
Costa Concordia with 11 sponsoon tanks on port side almost ready to be rotated upright September 2013. These tanks, except the two tall ones, will then be fully submerged below water. Four more tanks, P1 and P2 forward and P14 and P15 aft will be attached underwater later onto the beams already fitted + 15 tanks will be attached on the other side - also underwater
I explain in Part 11 of this article how Nick managed to up right the wreck 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 wreck 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 up righting September 2013.
When/if the 4+15 sponsoon tanks have been attached 12-30 meters under water to the damaged hull of the M/S Costa Concordia wreck winter 2013/2014 by 499 salvage workers working 24/7 and if the wreck has been refloated 2014, i.e. lifted off the sea floor using the sponsoon tanks, so the draught of the wreck/tanks is <15.9 meters, it is the intention, as a possibility, to use heavy lift ship M/S Dockwise Vanguard to completely lift the wreck above water! It will only cost US$ 30 million. Then the wreck will be transported somewhere inside Italy end 2014. If it works the project that was supposed to take 10 months and cost $300 million May 2012 will have taken 30 months and cost >1 000 million. At least.
In retrospect it is very easy to point out what actions taken by a serious shipowner would have 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 really required.
2. Always have a full complement of skilled crew aboard and do not depart, if shipowner 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 maneuver 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.
How it all started - the Magic Show of the Master
A planned starboard turn from heading 278° (actually 290°) to 334° was supposed to take place at 21.40 hrs on 13 January 2012 at a safe distance from alternatively very close to Isola del Giglio we are told to believe. 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 pass >600 or <100 meters away blowing its horn. And aboard the vessel no announcement was done that the ship passed an island in the night. Many passengers were looking at the Magic show in the ship's theatre or were attending a gala dinner 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. A few passengers and 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 44° 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:
It is not very complicated to turn a ship!
Easiest way is to ask the computer to turn the ship. Another way for any Master to turn a ship is just turning the rudder himself using remote control 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 44° or 58° 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 blew 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 blew 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/rudder for him, via the remote control, starting at 21.39 hrs resulting in a mysterious contact at 21.45 hrs.
Did the vessel turn starboard or port? Or starboard and port? Nobody knows!
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. It seems 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 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 Scole rock 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 center, 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 maneuver 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!
Photo Anders Björkman x The port side ripped open 36.5 meters due contact between 21.45.07 and 21.45.15 hrs
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?
The first incident - a contact
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 meters or centimetres off course, when it contacted a rock.
The contact incident at 21.45.15 hrs appears due to very strange and reckless maneuvering of the ship but luckily we know a little about the ship's maneuvering characteristics addressed by the IMO Standards for ship maneuverability (IMO MSC.137(76) resolution on Standards for ship maneuverability).
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 maneuvered 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 maneuver 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 maneuver 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/maneuver 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 shipowner 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.
Photo Anders Björkman - Area outside Isola del Giglio and Isola del Scole where M/S Costa Concordia contacted a rock while turning
Evidently more sinister circumstances have been proposed. But the shipowner, 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 shipowner 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 shipowner that does not support its Master and does not assist in analyzing ship incidents is a danger at sea.
Fake media descriptions
"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.
More false facts presented 2013
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 shipowner and approved by the Italian maritime authorities for this and four sister ships but they were never tested. The ship was up right 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 shipowner 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!
Ship was safe with good stability and buoyancy after first contact with ample time to prepare the lifesaving appliances for embarkation and to abandon ship
Actually only four watertight compartments were up flooded, <14 000 m3 buoyancy was lost, mean draught increased about 1.2 meters and ship trimmed ~4.08 meters on the stern - aft draught became ~11.54 meters and forward draught ~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 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 died. 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
shipowner, 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 life boats were
also not launched. Why? Lack of crew handling
It seems that a foreign, underpaid Asian helmsman, supplied by the shipowner, 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 life boats were also not launched. Why? Lack of crew handling them?
I get a feeling that the shipowner and his H&M
and P&I underwriters have 2012 decided to
destroy the wreck 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 shipowner and his H&M and P&I underwriters have 2012 decided to destroy the wreck 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 shipowner 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 shipowner 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 Life Boats 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 shipowner 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 wreck after capsize, e.g. if it was worthwhile to salvage the wreck one way or another.
Open register flag of convenience = cheap (badly paid) crew to be able to sell cheap cruises
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.
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 shipowner and maritime authority not knowing better. Imagine that the whole Costa fleet is not seaworthy.
Emergency and evacuation plans never tested - ship 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 life boats, 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 shipowner, 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 life boats 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 life boats and rafts.
When the abandon ship alarm was raised at 22.48 hrs, evidently the crew responsible for all 26 life boats 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 shipowner 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 shipowner was probably aware of the defect.
How to evacuate a ship with 4 800 persons aboard
Evidently you needed almost 300 trained crew to ensure that a 4 800 persons evacuation worked. It seems 23 life boats 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. The seamen or crew to launch the life rafts were not aboard! 12 persons were found drowned close to the starboard aft life raft launch 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. 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. 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 at the starboard forward life raft launch station. Actually, the lifeboats are supposed to connect to the life rafts after launch 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 raft! Evidently the crew must first check that the passenger can swim.
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 not swimming back to the ship after capsize 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 shipowner 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 shipowner 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. 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. 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 draught, 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 and procedures decided by the shipowner, i.e. Document of Compliance.
7. International Ship and Port Facility Security Code certificate - to ensure security aboard, e.g. against terrorists 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, 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 shipowner Company and that the crew doesn't speak the working language aboard. Shall the Master teach the crew Italian?
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. After a week proceedings were stopped for summer vacations to start 23 September. Evidently ...
"Schettino denies the 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 manoeuverings 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.
Schettino told the court 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 the 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. During 13 seconds the ship moved >100 meters. And there was only one aft end contact with one rock that lasted 8 seconds due to a last seconds hard starboard maneuver swinging out the stern. Everyone seems to agree to that. Had the ship completed the turn 13 seconds earlier, it would have sailed clear!
The January 14, 2012, capsize when persons died has so far not been discussed at any hearing. It seems much time in court 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.
Schettino's defence was therefore 25 September 2013 trying to prove that the ship's watertight doors did not function properly, and that is the reason the ship sank, leading to the loss of 32 lives during the evacuation. The court agreed it was worth to investigate. This is good news!
Then the court adjourned to start again 9 October 2013.
Come sleep with me or I sink the ship
End October a witness 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 with plenty of female passengers and crew since more than hundred years that people aboard take the opportunity to have affairs, mainly in the privacy of a cabin and at off work time/hours during the voyage. 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 M/S Costa Concordia is not clear. Media has 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 M/S 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.
Confusing media reports October 2013 to cover up lack of seaworthiness
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 was 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 has 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 shipowner 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.
Evidently Capt. Schettino is not responsible of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship, as the ship simply capsized due to an open watertight door. The capsize was caused by incorrect design and certification of the ship.
But it is easy to blame the Master. And forget the dangerous sister ships.
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 wreck upright 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 wreck was up righted anyway. 15 extra
buoyancy tanks are then supposed to be attached
10-20 meters underwater to the damaged
starboard side. Such a thing has never been done
before. A crane ship shall drop each tank - weight
400 tonnes - into the water and the fully submerged
tank shall then one way or another be pulled
against the wreck underwater and be secured
to the wreck - underwater. It may take
another 6-12 months to do this strange job ... if
it is even possible. 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 wreck
may fall apart in the meantime. Media
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 wreck. 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 wreck upright 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 wreck was up righted anyway.
15 extra buoyancy tanks are then supposed to be attached 10-20 meters underwater to the damaged starboard side. Such a thing has never been done before. A crane ship shall drop each tank - weight 400 tonnes - into the water and the fully submerged tank shall then one way or another be pulled against the wreck underwater and be secured to the wreck - underwater. It may take another 6-12 months to do this strange job ... if it is even possible. 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 wreck may fall apart in the meantime.
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.
The capsize 14 January 2012 damaging the starboard side
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 draught 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 midship. The ship was floating and stable and not aground.
On January 14, 2012, the vessel suddenly capsized and heeled 90° starboard towards and crashed onto the shallow draught shore that prevented further heeling upside down and all intact watertight compartments were down-flooded and the ship part sank. 32 persons still aboard drowned due to the capsize.
~35% of the ship remained above water.
Before capsize the forward starboard bilge was touching ground at ~7 meters draught and the aft starboard bilge was touching ground at ~11 meters draught. 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 draught and the aft deck house top side PA crushed against the granite ground/coral reef at <11 meters draught and the 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 wreck 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 wreck that otherwise would have continued to slide away from shore to disappear completely below water.
So the wreck came to a halt at ~65° heel and ~65% submerged at 01.00 hrs January 14, 2012.
More damages to the wreck side structure have taken place since then due to wave action and wreck 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 wreck after capsize, e.g. if it was worthwhile to salvage the wreck one way or another.
When the wreck 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 wreck 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 sponsoon 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.
View from space of Costa Concordia after parbuckling 17 September 2013. The indented deckhouse side forward and aft is clearly seen
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. 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 Genova, 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 shipowner as an injured party or victim can be read here. The shipowner 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 shipowner 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 shipowner and incorrect watertight doors (causing the capsize and manslaughter!) fitted by the shipyard at the shipowner request and approved by the Italian maritime administration and operated incorrectly, which is explained here and here and elsewhere below.
Immediate flooding of five watertight compartments erroneously reported
"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.
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 shipowner 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 shipowners 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 big structural damage
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 four hull compartments were up-flooded at the contact incident and that the ship was then stable with sufficient buoyancy enabling mustering and abandoning ship. Later a fifth compartment (no. 3 or no. 8) was apparently slowly, progressively flooded (a new incident!) through an open, illegal watertight door (e.g. no. 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.
One year later
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 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!
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.
Shipowner 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.
"We are sure that you will understand both the logistical impossibility of accommodating all of you on the island, as well as the desire for privacy expressed by the families at this sorrowful time,"
Costa chief executive 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
"will help lead us to a brighter future."
Evidently there were no problems at all to accommodate 4 200 people on the island and bring 4 200 people from the island on Jan. 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 shipowner 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 at about 00.34
am the next day, Jan. 14, 2012, when the ship
capsized outside the port of
the island. But at 00.34 am nothing was done at
Porto Giglio. The capsize January 14, 2012
when 32 people drowned was conveniently forgotten.
It seems that most people had forgotten that all deaths occurred at about 00.34 am the next day, Jan. 14, 2012, when the ship capsized outside the port of the island. But at 00.34 am nothing was done at Porto Giglio.
The capsize 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 wreck 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 shipowner 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 that killed nobody. The Capsize was apparently caused by an open watertight door and progressive flooding of intact compartments. The responsibility for the latter is explained in this analysis in 12 parts:
Go to Part 1.