M/S Costa Concordia incidents January 13-14, 2012 caused by ship not being seaworthy - Part 8

The abandon ship, evacuation, lodging at Isola del Giglio and miraculous repatriation of 4.200+ survivors from Costa Concordia

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According to The Costa Concordia Shipwreck - Summary of Emergency Response Management report by David Fabi, Dipartimento della Protezione civile - Ufficio gestione delle emergenze, Ilarione Dell'Anna, Direttore Marittimo Regione Toscana, Corpo delle Capitanerie di Porto - Guardia Costiera, Ennio Aquilino, Comandante Provinciale di Grosseto, Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco, and Abrizio Curcio, Dipartimento della Protezione civile, we are told by Franco Gabrielli, Head of the Department of Civil Protection, Rome:

 

"On the night of January 13, 2012, over four thousand people in life-threatening conditions, were saved and welcomed by a small community whose emergency plans did not take into account a partially sunken tilted vessel almost three hundred meters long, resting on its coastal sea bed. Relief, although activated immediately, came after several minutes, if not hours, from the peninsula: Giglio has proven to be a resilient community, capable of responding promptly to emergencies. It gave the necessary support to men, women, children and elderly who were perturbed and disbelieved what had happened to them. The population of Giglio has proven to be a positive example of a consolidated civil protection system. It is with them in mind that I like to believe that in Italy the National Service of Civil Protection can count on sixty million people. Sixty million people, contribute united and individually, each according to their recognized skills, they work side by side under one direction. ...

1. THE EVENT 

At sea off the coast of the Island of Giglio the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit the "Scole" rocks and was washed up on the starboard side at Punta Gabbianara. 

Following the evacuation order issued by the commander of the ship, the Livorno Harbour Coast Guard assumed full coordination of rescue operations at sea which engaged staff of the same coast Guard Departments as well as the Guardia di Finanza, the National Fire brigade corps and the Police Forces. ...

During the first 30 minutes following the evacuation order 3,000 of the total 4,228 passengers on board were rescued, this figure which includes crew and passenger members amounts to four times the resident population at the island of Giglio. ...

The transfer of passengers lasted until early afternoon of the day after the ship wreck. ..."

It is a strange description of an accidental contact with a rock, when nobody died, and when the ship was still floating, stable and upright outside the coastline. The reason to move passengers and crew ashore was that there was no electricity aboard and no means to feed them. The toilets were also no longer working.

The report fails to inform that the ship capsized and sank about three hours after the contact, which was a surprise for all. The idea was to tow the floating ship for repairs.

The report fails to inform how and where the 4 228 persons aboard were accommodated on the Giglio island, how they were transported to the mainland and then to their respective homes that lasted until early afternoon. It is a very strange report about an emergency response management. The question remains - were there really 4 228 persons aboard? 

According Wikipedia:

"After the grounding, passengers and crew were taken ashore from the ship by lifeboats and helicopters or swam to the island, leaving about 40 people missing. Half of these were later found inside the ship, most of them deceased".

Evidently the above is a typical Wikipedia falsification of events as it is better not to report anything. Were there also helicopters rescuing people? Was there a grounding?

The ship owner has informed:  

Costa complies very strictly with all safety regulations and our personnel are committed, first and foremost, to guest safety and security. 

All crew members hold a BST (Basic Safety Training) certificate and are trained and prepared to emergency management and to assist passengers abandoning the ship with numerous drills. Roles, responsibilities and duties are clearly assigned to all crew members. Every two weeks all crewmembers perform a ship evacuation simulation. A lifeboat and evacuation drill for all guests is conducted within 24 hours of embarking, as required by law. Costa has a computerised system which ensures all passengers undergo this drill. 

The skills of Costa crew are periodically tested by Coastguard authorities and an independent classification organization as per SMS (Safety Management Systems) requirements.

However it seems no evacuation drills were ever done aboard and most passengers and crew had no idea how to abandon the ship via the muster stations. There were only two (sic) muster stations for the passengers and it was ... say 23 too few!

Furthermore, it appears that there was not sufficient trained crew aboard to launch all lifeboats - three (out of 26) for 400 persons were not launched - and the life rafts - 60 (! of 69) for >1 000 persons - were not used at all.

The evacuation was therefore chaotic, unorganized and incomplete and not as per any International Safety Management, ISM, procedures.

There are no voice, VDR, recordings available from the bridge/emergency control center to verify anything reported later about the evacuation of the ship.

Under such conditions 3 200+ paying cruise passengers and 1 000+, mostly Asian, some South American and East European crew members were evacuated (alive - thanks to the Master) from M/S Costa Concordia on the cold night January 13 and early morning January 14.

Only about 300 people were left on the luxury cruise ship and 32, unfortunately, died or drowned, when the ship sank after having capsized. All the living 4 200+ persons wearing orange (passengers) or yellow (crew) lifejackets thus arrived in lifeboats and assisting crafts to the little Giglio Porto harbor of the Giglia island between 00.00 and 03.00 hrs. A small number of passengers were flown by helicopter to Grosseto. Very good. I assume they had no luggage and no money, keys, IDs, credit cards, etc. All personal belongings were left on the ship in safes and cupboards. On below photo we see some of them with lifejackets lined up for a chilly night photo session at Porto Giglio:

Source: http://images2.corriereobjects.it/gallery/Reportage/Cronache/2012/giglio/costa-concordia/img_costa-concordia/nav_16_997-710_resize.jpg?v=20120117135432.

According available information Costa Cruises then, early morning January 14, at 02.00 and 03.00 hrs, quickly arranged that most of the 4 200+ shipwrecked survivors, some stayed in the little church or two hotels at the port, were transferred by bus (!) to Giglio Castello, the main village 5.7 kms and 8 minutes away (if your drive at 43 kms/h) from Giglio Porto high up on the island! Dr. Giuseppe Linardi, local prefect and head of Vigili del Fuoco (Italian Civil Protection Agency) in the area has informed that they found 3 000 beds (sic) in less than three hours on the island for the surviviors.

Why at least 3 150 surviviors didn't stay in the warm, well protected and outfitted lifeboats for a few extra hours but ran to the chilly church ashore is not clear. It would evidently have been better to keep the survivors in the warm lifeboats for the night than having them run around in the cold winter weather in the port.

Even better would have been that the lifeboats went straight to Porto Santo Stefano on the mainland close by, where all survivors would easily be taken care of. It would only have taken some hours.

Costa passengers leaving Isola del Giglio on morning January 14 - still wearing lifejackets!

It is not clear how many buses were used or where the 4 200+ survivors actually stayed, slept, washed, showered and got a breakfast, at Giglio Castello, because in the morning, after breakfast, at 08.00-10.00 hrs they were all brought back, by the same buses again, to Giglio Porto and shipped off, by ferry, to Porto Santo Stefano on the mainland.

Most survivors still carried the lifejackets they had taken on prior evacuation from Costa Concordia 16 hrs earlier!

There are two ferry lines between Giglio Porto and Porto Santo Stefano and they will (?) assure that they transported 4 200+ survivors on January 14. Very good.

At Porto Santo Stefano the 4 200+ survivors, without luggage, clothes, money, keys, IDs, passports, credit cards, etc, but with lifejackets on were at 11.00-15.00 hrs ticked off by Costa Cruises staff on passenger and crew lists (of people aboard) and then allowed to board a great number of rented buses to Rome airport to be flown home or to Rome railway station to be transported home ... without luggage, clothes, money, keys, IDs, passports, credit cards, etc. Costa Cruises arranged, assisted by some consulates, air or bus/train travel for 4 200+ persons Rome to home ... without luggage, clothes, money, keys, IDs, passports, credit cards, etc. within 12 hrs. Very good. I am very impressed. Only 32 persons were missing. And 4 200+ lifejackets were collected by the Costa staff to be re-cycled on another Costa cruise ship!

In the evening January 14, 2012, according Costa Cruises all 4 200+ survivors were happily on their way home ... without lifejackets, luggage, clothes, money, keys, IDs, credit cards, etc. Only 32 persons were sadly missing. Some passengers/staff evidently ended up at various hospitals to recover for a couple of days but that was all!

The Costa Cruises liability (P&I) insurance companies, or clubs, The Standard Club and The Steamship Mutual Club must be very happy with such a passenger ship client like Costa Cruises. After the biggest ship disaster in the 21st century 99% of the 4 200+ passengers and crew involved were safely home within 48 hrs. And the passengers will maybe get little more indemnity for mental losses suffered. The Costa Concordia was part entered in The Steamship Mutual Club, on a 50/50 quota share with The Standard Club, and liability claims will first be covered by Costa Cruises' $10m deductible then both clubs will pay $4m each before claims are then taken to the International Group (IG) pool of $60m and on to reinsurers.

And who pays for all this in the end? The answer is clear. Future passengers:

For the 2013/14 policy year, passenger vessels will have to pay US$3.1493 per gt, an increase of 125.08% year-on-year, and the highest percentage increase across all shipping sectors. ...

In a circular to members, Steamship Mutual, one of the 13 members of IG, stated that as a result of very significant major casualties, including Costa Concordia, upward adjustment has been made to the rates with a much increased allocation to passenger vessels. These increases represent the largest in recent years despite increased risk retention by the Group Clubs.

Steamship Mutual noted the 2011/12 policy year 'produced the first and third largest ever claims on the IG reinsurance programme resulting in a very significant exposure to the Group's reinsurers.' It said the exposure together with increased cost of major casualties (read Costa Concordia), and in particular wreck removal (read Costa Concordia), 'has led the Group's reinsurers to seek significant rises in the renewal premium for the 2013/14 policy year.'

Apart from insurance cost increases it is very strange that no newspapers and TV stations in the world did report the 4 200+ lucky endings (or ... how many were they actually?) of the Costa Concordia incidents due to good safety at sea (they all borrowed a lifejacket!) but only accuse the lonely, poor Master (and none of his officers and crew ... or the helmsman?) of manslaughter, wining and dining, entertaining young blondes, etc, causing the death of 32 persons.

The Master, after having been active in the most central position from 21.35 hrs on 13 January 2012, ending up with the supporting and coordination work of the ship's 20 lifeboats in the rescue operation including a capsize for about 6-7 hours, he was immediately arrested and handcuffed as a criminal person, and put in jail in Grosseto for three days. He was totally denied any kind of psychological counselling or any kind of physical help or support, but only offered pills for his headaches. This was a grave violation of EU Health Care Regulations, IMO's Maritime Labor Code, and probably also the Italian Police Regulations.

The ISM Code states:

"The company should ensure that the Master is given the necessary support so that the Master's duties can be satisfactorily performed"

The ISM Code, Resources and personnel, chapter 6.3.1

At the time the Master was arrested, the company, i.e. the ship owner acted quite the contrary. The company was fully aware that the Master was facing a very demanding period of clarifying and reporting the events of the accident, which required that the Master should keep in good health and condition, in addition to the human respect of the Master as a private citizen of the Italian society.

It is well known that disasters and catastrophic crises strongly affect human behavior:

"People undergoing a crisis or dealing with the aftermath of a disaster are normally, well-functioning people who are struggling with the disruption and loss caused by the disaster. They do not see themselves as needing mental health services and are unlikely to request them." Because of this, it is important that those treating individuals undergoing a crisis learn to recognize the common reactions to a traumatic event. Reactions can include changes in behavior, physical well-being, psychological health, thinking patterns, and social interactions. The following signs, symptoms, and reactions are common psychological responses to a crisis or traumatic event: disbelief, emotional numbing, nightmares and other sleep disturbances, anger, moodiness, and irritability and forgetfulness."

I have a feeling many of the statements of the Master made after the incidents and reported by media were done when he was in shock.

I am incredulous at the disgraceful and unfounded assertions made about the Master of Costa Concordia without any form of verification. It seems media don't know how to report ... the Truth!

 

Go to part 9.

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