News24

Divers resume search on cruise ship

2012-01-25 14:18

Giglio - Divers on Wednesday resumed the search of the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia that was temporarily halted due to strong winds and rough seas off the Italian island of Giglio.

On Tuesday the death toll from the January 13 accident involving the cruise ship rose to 16 when divers found the body of a woman in the half-sunken vessel's third bridge.

Around 20 people remain unaccounted for since the Concordia ran aground near Giglio off Italy's western coast.

The search for the missing was continuing as were preparations for the removal of thousands of tons of potentially hazardous fuel from the Concordia's tanks.

The actual pumping of fuel from the vessel's tanks is not expected to begin before Saturday, officials said.

The Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino remains under house arrest while prosecutors are trying to have him indicted on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all were evacuated.

He has reportedly admitted to veering the vessel off course, causing it to crash against rocks near Giglio.

However, he insists he helped coordinate the evacuation, but was forced to do so from Giglio's docks after slipping off the listing ship into a lifeboat.

More than 4 000 passengers and crew were aboard the ship at the time of the accident.

Comments
  • Anakin - 2012-01-25 16:20

    The cruise-liner industry seems to be very slow in learning some basic essentials. Since the disaster started no one has asked the question of how a cruise-liner equipped with the very latest technology runs onto rocks (which were 'not supposed to be there').It should be made an international maritime law that all cruise-liners, oil-tankers and other misc./heavy cargo ships be equipped with under-water doppler radar systems that can automatically prevent them from colliding with ANY under-water objects,be it rocks or floating icebergs.Aircraft use alarm systems such as (a) Ground proximity warning (b) Stall speed warning [stick shaker] (c) Overspeed warning (d) 'Front radar' to give best effort to avoid mid-air collisions. Given that these cruise-liners use the ocean for transport I fail to understand how under-water doppler 'pinging' systems can NOT be installed, thereby leaving it totally to the captain and crew to 'see where they are going'. What is the cost now to (a) Lives lost (b) Loss of ship (c) A possible pending environmental oil-spill disaster leading to (d) Closure of all businesses on Giglio island (e) Contamination of the whole island with permanent damage to marine life.All of these very high risks and high costs against the cost of having a properly installed functional under-water doppler 'pinging' system?It's like removing all the warning systems on Airbus and Boeing airliners and hoping for the best.Not good enough,I thought they learned since Titanic.

      Pete - 2012-01-25 21:27

      Anakin, in a perfect world what you suggest is absolutely right. But what has happened here is, clearly, the result of human stupidity. But fundamental questions remain: -- Is a 4 000-person liner sensible and safe? Are the numbers (of pax and crew) not simply too great to handle in an emergency? -- Why, given the size and value of the ship and her cargo, and the fact that she is on a regular weekly turnaround voyage, is she on on an autopilot system from the outset, with no - or very little - input from the master aka course alterations? -- It seems no safety/lifeboat drill was undertaken before the disaster. Given that she had only been at sea for 2,5 hours before the incident, shouldn't it be made mandatory that safety drills be undertaken BEFORE the start of a passenger voyage? I think - no, I HOPE - this disaster will cause the maritime industry to rethink a number of factors related to safety at sea.

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