Concordia families gather for anniversary

2013-01-12 19:19
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Costa Concordia wreck: one year later

It's been a year since the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground. See the pictures of the wreck as it now stands.

Giglio Island - Families of Italy's cruise shipwreck victims returned to the site of the disaster on Saturday as preparations got under way for a commemoration ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the fatal crash.

"It's not easy to return," said Kevin Rebello, whose brother was a waiter on the Costa Concordia and one of the 32 people who died.

"I was looking at the ship when I was coming in on the ferry," he added. His brother is one of two victims still missing.

"It brought back memories of those days when I used to travel up and down to Giglio island to know what's happening. I have still not found peace," he said.

Gazebos to host the hundreds of survivors expected to attend the ceremony have sprung up along the Tuscan island's port, just a few hundred yards from where the ship keeled over with 4 229 people from 70 countries on board.

Mayor Sergio Ortelli said the islanders were keen to welcome back those who lived through the traumatic night of 13 January. Many of them had sought shelter in local homes after being pulled shivering from the freezing sea.

"The idea is to exorcise a horrible episode, and to share the pain and drama of those who lost a loved one," Ortelli said.

Locals gathered on the port side to meet survivors arriving from Italy's mainland. Hundreds of French, German and American passengers were expected.

"Many survivors and relatives of victims have returned to thank us, and share their memories with us. Some, a year on, still send us e-mails," he said.

Find bodies

The commemorations on Sunday will include replacing where it once stood the rock that the ship crashed into and tore away. There will be a mass in the church that served as a temporary refuge for survivors in the hours after the crash.

Father Lorenzo Pasquotti said he would display objects that survivors left behind - life jackets, emergency blankets, even discarded rolls of bread - next to the altar, underneath a Madonna statue salvaged from the ship's chapel.

Flowers and candles line the aisles of the church, where extra pews have been squeezed in for survivors, salvage workers and government officials.

Later on Saturday, US salvage company Titan is expected to provide details on the mammoth operation of righting and re-floating the rusting 114 500-ton ship.

The project - the biggest of its kind ever attempted - has been held up by a series of technical difficulties, exacerbated by winter winds and rough seas.

An initial June date for towing away the giant hulk has been put back until September at the earliest. It is an excruciating delay for Rebello.

"I'm still waiting for his body, only then will everything come to an end. It's important for my family, who need to grieve," he said.

"I think they'll find it when they move the ship. I'm hoping that day arrives in the near future," he added.

Infamous captain

Rebello said he hoped the ceremony would not be overshadowed by talk about the Concordia's infamous captain Francesco Schettino.

Schettino, accused of causing the crash through reckless seamanship and then abandoning ship before all the passengers had been rescued, sparked controversy on Friday by saying that he was itching to captain a ship again.

Rebello said he had spoken to Schettino by phone several times, because the Italian captain knew his brother personally.

"They worked together on two different ships. So maybe, among the 32 people who lost their lives, he had the most contact with my brother.

"I'm not expecting answers from him. I've forgiven him. " he said.


Read more on:    costa  |  francesco schettino  |  italy  |  cruise liner disaster

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.