Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Costa Concordia: Were ''Salutes'' an Accepted Part of Company Policy?

I suppose the only thing that you can rely on regarding the hype surrounding the Costa Concordia, is that you can rely on nothing surrounding the Costa Concordia.

Listening to lawyers that are falling over themselves to bring a class action against Carnival, is about as reliable as listening to Clarence Mitchell, aka the Angel of Death, a transparently lying son of bitch brought in by owners, Carnival Cruise lines, to paint Carnival whiter than white, and to paint the unfortunate Francesco Schettino, skipper of the Costa Concordia, blacker than black.

Well I don't think it is going to be quite so easy for Carnival and the odious Clarence Mitchell, to achieve such an effect. Not when it was seemingly common practice, and we have to assume with full knowledge of the owners, for the Costa Concordia to carry out these types of salutes. (and other Carnival cruise ships?)

(U.S. lawyer Mitchell Proner) “While they might be trying to indicate that the incident is the fault of this one rogue captain, we know that they’ve had some precedents going close to these islands along the Italian coast,” he said.

He said the same ship had earlier cruised dangerously close to the island of Procida in the Gulf of Naples.

“Procida set up mortars and saluted and the Concordia responded by blasting their sirens. So this is something that they have done in the past as a way of generating publicity and advertising for their company,” he said.

So not quite the same ''The Captain deviated from his course'' that we first heard from Carnival, in trying to distance itself from the hapless Francesco Schettino. And it is this prior knowledge of such salutes by owners Carnival, that is going to play a major role in this investigation.

And an even greater role altogether, if in fact it was company policy to ''show the flag'' in such a manner.

I hadn't realised until I read the article below, that the Concordia had lost propulsion after she hit the rock, and if we are to take the graphic and the information thereon as something like accurate, Schettino displayed a fair degree of seamanship in bringing the boat about and running her aground.

But it is the loss of power, in part, that I want to deal with in my next article. An article that doesn't deal with the loss of the Concordia, but where I try and address the question, Why Mega Cruise Ships Are Unsafe

Update: Photographer claims company encouraged captains to take their ships close to shore... linky

Further update below: Costa Concordia captain not solely to blame, says prosecutor

Costa Concordia criminal probe may widen as passengers file class-action

By Antonella Cinelli and Gabriele Pileri
Jan 23, 2012
GIGLIO — A criminal probe into the Costa Concordia’s doomed voyage, which ended with at least 15 dead and the cruise ship lying off the Italian coast, may be widened, a lawyer for the captain said on Monday.

The toll includes the bodies of two women, their nationalities so far unknown, found by divers on Monday.

Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of causing the accident and is under investigation for multiple manslaughter and abandoning the 450 million-euro ($590 million) ship before it was evacuated.

Schettino’s lawyer Bruno Leporatti said in a statement that evidence from his client about phone calls with the ship’s owners, Costa Cruises, at the time of the accident could lead to the investigation being widened.

He said the calls with Costa’s marine operation director had “opened further channels for investigation that could reasonably lead to an increase in the number of those under investigation.”

Third parties “could have at least contributed to creating the tragic event,” Leporatti said.

According to leaked transcripts from the investigation, Schettino has admitted steering too close to shore. Leporatti has said that while Schettino is willing to accept his share of responsibility, other factors were involved in the accident.

Investigators say he brought the ship to within 150 meters of the shore, apparently while performing a “salute” to the island. Schettino says this maneuver was common but the company says it should not be performed so close to the shore.

Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp, the world’s largest cruise ship operator, has suspended Schettino and declared itself an injured party in the case. It has said “unfortunate human error” by Schettino caused the disaster.


A U.S. lawyer said Monday the Costa Concordia had earlier cruised recklessly close to other islands to impress passengers.

Mitchell Proner of New York law firm Proner & Proner, which is planning to file a class-action suit in Miami on Wednesday on behalf of passengers in the disaster, said the ship owner would be a main target of the lawsuit.

“At this point we’re exploring numerous defendants; certainly you’ve got (ship owner) Costa Cruise lines,” Proner told AFP.

“While they might be trying to indicate that the incident is the fault of this one rogue captain, we know that they’ve had some precedents going close to these islands along the Italian coast,” he said.

He said the same ship had earlier cruised dangerously close to the island of Procida in the Gulf of Naples.

“Procida set up mortars and saluted and the Concordia responded by blasting their sirens. So this is something that they have done in the past as a way of generating publicity and advertising for their company,” he said.

“It’s thrill-seeking for the passengers, but it’s reckless.”

Proner & Proner is teaming up with Italian consumer rights’ association Codacons and another New York law firm, Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, to lead the lawsuit on behalf of victims in the January 13 shipwreck, which occurred after the vessel moved too close to the shore of the island of Giglio.

Proner said they would likely file the suit on behalf of all victims on Wednesday in Miami, home base of Carnival, the giant U.S. cruise ship operator which owns Costa Cruise lines.

They would seek at least U.S.$160,000 for each of the victims.

“If they sustained injury it can be a multiple of that number. If they have a disability as a result of the incident and certainly in the cases of fatalities, we’re expecting in excess of a million euros per individual.”

He said they would also be examining whether the equipment on board the vessel designed to prevent such accidents had failed or were disengaged.


The vice president of Carnival Corp, Howard Frank, arrived in Italy on Sunday to help oversee the situation, according to a source close to the company.

Frank and Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and chief executive of Costa Cruises, met some of families of the victims of the tragedy on Giglio island on Sunday, the source said.

Costa Cruises has not received any notification that it is being investigated, according to a company spokesman. The company will be forthright with investigators and has full faith in the magistrature, he added.

According to transcripts of Schettino’s questioning by prosecutors leaked to Italian media, the captain said that immediately after hitting the rock he sent two of his officers to the engine room to check on the state of the vessel.

As soon as he realized the scale of the damage, he called Roberto Ferrarini, marine operations director for Costa Cruises.

“I told him: ‘I’ve got myself into a mess, there was contact with the seabed. I am telling you the truth, we passed under Giglio and there was an impact’,” Schettino said.

“I can’t remember how many times I called him in the following hour and 15 minutes. In any case, I am certain that I informed Ferrarini about everything in real time.”

Separately, Leporatti said that Schettino tested negative in hair and urine tests for drug use, but was not tested for alcohol on the night of the accident.

If the probe is broadened, it will reduce the glare of the spotlight on Schettino, who has so far been assigned almost exclusive responsibility for the disaster. His first officer Ciro Ambrosio is also under investigation.

A judge has said Schettino showed “incredible carelessness” and a “total inability to manage the successive phases of the emergency,” according to documents from a hearing.


Search operations were still under way for nearly 20 bodies missing. Navy divers blasted underwater holes in the hull of the ship to provide additional points of access. Debris floated out and was gathered by coastguard boats.

An Italian navy ship, the Galatea, which is equipped with a sophisticated undersea radar system, has been sent to the area to help search for bodies.

Reports on Sunday of the possible presence of unregistered passengers, including one Hungarian woman, raised questions about the exact number of people missing.

Costa Cruises on Monday denied the presence of stowaways. The Hungarian foreign ministry said it had no news that any of its nationals had been secretly on board, according to Italy’s civil protection agency.

Franco Gabrielli, head of Italy’s civil protection authority, said the ship was stable and there appeared to be no immediate risk that it could slide off the rock outcrop where it is caught and slip into deeper waters.

He said search operations could continue, and operations to pump some 2,400 tons of fuel from the vessel could begin while the search for bodies was still under way.

On Tuesday, a platform boat for the fuel recovery team will be positioned hear the Costa Concordia and preparatory dives will be made, according to SMIT, the Dutch company hired to salvage the fuel.

Giglio’s economy depends on tourists seeking clean beaches and clear water for snorkeling and scuba diving. Its drinking water, too, is drawn from the sea and desalinated.


United Nations cultural body UNESCO urged the Italian government Monday to restrict the access of cruise ships to World Heritage Site Venice in the wake of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.

In a statement, Paris-based UNESCO said it had called on the Italian government “to restrict access of large ships to culturally and ecologically important areas, particularly Venice and its lagoon which are visited by some 300 large cruise ships a year.”

It said cruise liner traffic in Venice “is particularly damaging because of the fragile structure of the city.

“The ships cause water tides that erode the foundations of buildings. They contribute to pollution and impact the cityscape as they dwarf monuments in the heart of the city,” UNESCO said.

Amid efforts to eventually pump out hundreds of tons of fuel remaining in the ship, environmentalists have warned of an ecological catastrophe in Europe’s biggest marine sanctuary.


on Monday, it emerged that the ship’s owner, Costa Cruises, a division of Carnival, the largest cruise ship operator in the world, is offering survivors a 30% discount off future cruises.

The move is the first obvious effort to limit the corporate damage done by the shipwreck, the result of a failed nighttime sail-by in which the ship was gashed by a rock, then beached to facilitate rescue, only to topple over on the rocks when the tide went out.

But with people still missing, and the rescue operation complicated by the question of unregistered passengers, the offer was criticized as “insulting,” by one British survivor.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that the Florida-based company had been telephoning survivors “asking if they are suffering nightmares or sleepless nights,” which are the hallmark symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. nationalpost.com

It's a big rascal, click it again once you have opened it.

H/T Costa Concordia Imbroglione

Costa Concordia captain not solely to blame, says prosecutor

Investigators urged to consider role of ship's owners in incident as salvage experts begin pumping out fuel from wreck
John Hooper in Rome
Tuesday 24 January

The chief prosecutor overseeing the inquiry into the Costa Concordia shipwreck has urged investigators to look beyond the behaviour of the captain to the role played by the liner's owners, Costa Cruises.

His remarks were published as salvage experts began the delicate task of pumping out around 2,400 tonnes of fuel to prevent an environmental disaster in the area where the vessel ran aground on 13 January.

Beniamino Deidda, the chief prosecutor of Tuscany, said in an interview carried by several Italian newspapers on Tuesday: "For the moment, attention is generally concentrated on the responsibility of the captain, who showed himself to be tragically inadequate. But who chooses the captain?"

He said investigators needed to lift their gaze to the decisions taken by "the employer; that is to say, the ship's owner".

Costa Cruises has from the outset put the blame for the accident squarely on the allegedly reckless behaviour of the captain, Francesco Schettino. He lost control of the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia after hitting a rock as he skirted the shoreline of the island of Giglio in a 'salute' to a retired cruise line commodore.

But Deidda, who has spent a large part of his career dealing with health and safety cases, said numerous other issues needed to be addressed.

He specifically mentioned "lifeboats that did not come down, crew who did not know what to do [and] scant preparation in crisis management".

He added it was "absurd" that in at least one instance, recorded on video after the Costa Concordia was holed, a member of the crew should have told passengers to return to their cabins.

Schettino has also maintained his employers have a shared responsibility for what happened. Among questions the inquiry is seeking to answer is why more than an hour elapsed between impact and the order to abandon ship.

Questioned by prosecutors last week, the captain said he was in frequent contact with a representative of the company during that period.

Schettino and his first officer are the sole formal suspects in the inquiry, which is considering whether to bring charges of manslaughter and the illegal abandoning of a ship.

On Monday, islanders reported seeing a large fuel slick in the waters off Giglio, which are protected as a marine nature reserve. The fuel, however, is thought by the authorities to have come from the ship's initial impact with a cluster of rocks just south of the port of Giglio.

The official co-ordinating operations on the island said on Monday there was still no evidence that fuel had leaked from the Costa Concordia's tanks. gruniad


SteelMagnolia said...

High seas, low pay.

Dreadful life H and I have hairs standing up on the back of my neck telling me that below deck are a lot of unregistered crew member's bodies that have yet to surface.


SteelMagnolia said...


I am curious as to why ITN pixled this face out before publishing.

Himself said...

I shall read them in a minute or two after I have given the peepers a break, meanwhile, for you.

Costa themselves have employed Clarence Mitchell, the communications expert best known for representing Kate and Gerry McCann during the media storm which followed the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

His role so far has been largely to brief against Schettino in order to convince the world of the captain's reckless actions and divert scrutiny away from the behaviour of the company and the safety of other ships - Costa Serena, Costa Pacifica, Costa Favolosa and Carnival Splendor - which are built to the same basic design as Concordia.


Himself said...

It does sound dreadful doesn't it, a hot bed for abuse and injustice.

It filters down to all levels Dani.

The skipper who bought this boat was in a habit of employing Russians so he didn't have to pay them a proper share.

And if you read the story, you will see that the bloke that subsequently bought the bought from him, well he employed Egyptians for the same reason.


I watched the vid earlier today, I don't know why, but I think it's fair to say, it would be ITN that took it upon themselves to censor the thing.

Himself said...

bought the boat

SteelMagnolia said...

Yes the face is censored but why someone there who did not want it to be known ?


Thought you might have a bit of fun with this article.

I will pick the link up now and add the SWINDLERS blog.

I have some problem with my e.mail and the BOSS will fix it when he has time. xx