Upon departure from the port of a Giglio, an island off the northwestern coast of Italy, the cruise ship Costa Concordia struck a reef, tearing a 50 meter-long gash in her hull. Reports indicate the ship’s captain, Commander Paolillo, attempted to steer the ship toward shallower waters to enable an easier lifeboat evacuation. A reported 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew were onboard when she grounded.
UPDATE: The captain of the cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA has been arrested by Italian police as an investigation into Friday night’s grounding is launched. Officials said Saturday that captain of appears to have taken the vessel very close to the shore for reasons that are still unknown.
Weather at the time of the incident was calm with waves were under 3 ft. There is word that the ship had made an emergency stop in Marseille on January 8th but those reports have not been confirmed.
Here’s the ship’s track via MarineTraffic.com:
The following is aerial footage of the partially submerged cruise ship, and the rescue operations early this morning, courtesy of Russia Today:
The initial report via Sky News:
It seems Costa Cruises website is down most likely due to heavy traffic but the company has made the following statements regarding the incident via their twitter, @costacruises
@costacruises: Costa Cruises confirms the evacuation of about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members on board of the Costa Concordia off Italian coast.
@costacruises: Costa expresses deep appreciation to Coast Guard, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza, Polizia di Stato, Marina Militare and citizens of Giglio
Go to the link to see graphics of the ship’s track and some videos. Pretty insane track cutting through that narrow channel between those rocks. Measured on Google Earth the passage is 76 yards wide, rock to rock. Obviously in hindsight passing just a little further offshore but safely to seaward would have been the smart choice.
Link to NGA chart 53135
A great article on that topic!
High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas: The Race to Save the Cougar Ace
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