It looks like a scene from Titanic, doesn’t it? Scary stuff, I can only imagine what those passengers must have gone through trying to escape from the sinking ship..
The Costa Concordia ran aground after Captain Francesco Schettino veered from his approved course and gashed the ship’s hull on a reef, forcing the panicked evacuation of the 4,200 passengers and crew.
On Wednesday, the chief executive of Costa Crociere SpA, Pier Luigi Foschi, insisted that Schettino didn’t have approval to change the ship’s routing and was going far too fast to be so close to shore.
But he defended the practice of so-called ‘tourist navigation,’ whereby enormous cruise ships steer close to shore to give passengers a look at the sites. He said it was part of the ‘cruise product’ that passengers demand and that cruise lines are forced to offer to stay competitive.
‘It’s something that enriches the cruise product,’ Foschi told a parliamentary committee.
‘There are many components of the cruise product, and we have to do them like everyone else because we are in a global competition.’
Foschi stressed that such deviations from charted routes are supposed to follow strict protocols that ensure safety: ports are informed, the company is informed, and certainly no ship of the Concordia’s size would be charging 200-300 yards off shore at 16 knots.
‘For anyone who knows that zone, that ship with those characteristics shouldn’t have been there,’ he said.
Schettino is under house arrest, facing accusations of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before all passengers were evacuated.
At last count, 16 passengers were confirmed dead, and 22 were still unaccounted for.