Costa Concordia Wreck Could Be Upright This Month

Costa Concordia
Carlo Mirante/Flickr

It was a very unlucky Friday the 13th in 2012 when the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy, sending shock waves through the world of cruise travel. After the event, which took 32 lives, cruise lines took a hard look at everything they were doing. Back at the scene of the wreck, environmentalists voiced concerns about long-term damage to the delicate marine environment. It would be a long, difficult process to remove the ship, one that may take a big step forward this month.

Last year Gadling explained the process of removing the wreck. First, the grounded ship was stabilized to keep it from sinking further into the ocean. Next, an underwater support system was installed. Now, the process of standing the ship upright, called parbuckling, should take place later this month. Once that delicate operation is complete, the ship will be floated away.

After the grounding of Costa Concordia, the governing organizations of the cruise industry ordered an operational safety review both in response to the grounding and as part of the industry’s continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures. The Costa Concordia event also contributed to the birth of the so-called Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights, which details rights cruise travelers have when things go wrong.Follow along on the wreck removal progress at The Parbuckling Project website and see a great Reuters slide show, with aerial view of Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island.

Crews Work To Move Shipwrecked Costa Concordia

When A Cruise Ship Crashes, How Much Does Cleanup Cost?

European Commission DG ECHO, Flickr

When a crash or accident happens, there are the immediate, often horrendous, effects, like death. But in the face of destruction, there are the long term effects that many of us never give a second thought to. Like the removal of wreckage.

Such is the case with Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy in early 2012, killing 32 people. Since then, the boat has remained grounded, partially submerged in the waters near the Tuscan island of Giglio, and a constant visual reminder of the travel tragedy. Certainly not “out of sight, out of mind.”

But next month, the boat will rise from the seas, to remove the wreckage and start the restoration process of the surrounding waters.

At 114,500 tons, removing the Concordia is no small feat, and will require cables attached to hydraulic pumps that will help lift the wreckage from the seabed and onto an underwater platform. From there, repairs will be made to the submerged sized, and eventually giant steel boxes on the sides of the ship will be pumped full of air, in theory floating the top to the top of the water. A detailed example of how all of this works can be found on the restoration project’s website.

Overall the salvage work is coming in at $400 million, which some might say is a small price to pay for the horror and pain caused by the accident.

Technically, Cruise Travel Is Safer Now: Do You Care? (POLL)

cruise travel
Andrew Malone/Flickr

After the grounding of Costa Concordia, the world of cruise travel took a good hard look at everything they were doing in the way of safety. A comprehensive Operational Safety Review of passenger safety measures resulted in new policies that promised to address safety concerns. Those policies were adopted by members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which covered most of the major cruise lines we know about. Recently, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which oversees those and other cruise lines worldwide, adopted the same rules for all ships sailing, effectively standardizing safety rules for all.

Cruise lines hope that refreshed safety rules as well as a new Cruise Industry Passenger Bill Of Rights will reassure first time cruise travelers having second thoughts after safety-related events turned them off.

But seasoned cruisers who have sailed a number of times, those who were undeterred by safety-related concerns, don’t seem to care all that much and have continued sailing, as planned, without hesitation.

What about you?

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Moldovian Dancer On Wrecked Cruise Ship Resents Prostitute Reference

Moldoivian Dancer
indi.ca/Flickr

When the cruise ship Costa Concordia was grounded off the coast of Italy, the blame fell on Captain Vincent Schettino, practically convicted by the court of popular opinion. In July, Schettino will go on trial. Meanwhile, a Moldovian dancer who was on the ship has problems of her own

At the time of the event, we met Domnica Cemortan, 26, a former cruise ship “hostess” and dancer from Mondolvia. It was said in a variety of publications that Cemoran was having dinner at the time with Schettino and somehow wound up on the bridge. Now, Cemortan is suing Schettino and the cruise line for damages of $280,000-$420,000 over the $15,000 being offered to all who sailed.

“The media has presented her as a prostitute,” insists Gianluca Madonna, Cemortan’s Italian lawyer. Apparently, at the time of the accident, Cemortan told investigators that she was “in love” with Schettino, a suggestion she later told the UK’s Daily Telegraph that she rejected, reports Travel Blackboard.

Cemortan is now seeking damages against Schettino and the cruise line for failing to defend and rehire her. She might also go after several Italian newspapers, magazines and TV channels who she says “slandered her reputation for suggesting she had been involved with the captain.”Strangely associated with Cemortan’s complaint is that there was an hour and a half delay in receiving the key to her room. When she got it, her stateroom was on the same private floor as Schettino’s room, an area of the ship normally reserved for crew members.

“She is a hard worker and is a beautiful dancer, very professional,” said attorney Madonna, insisting his client had done nothing wrong and had “risked her life helping Russian passengers because there was no one on board who spoke Russian.”

Since the accident, Cemortan has not worked regularly and the cruise line did not renew her contract.

Not sure what the dance style used by a nice Moldovian girl would look like? Here you go:

New Study Has Travel By Air Preferred, Thanks To Travel By Sea

cruise ships
Port of San Diego/Flickr

A new study out this week says the idea of a cruise vacation is not as popular as it once was, targeting multiple factors for the hit. Regardless of the reason, the numbers show a cruise industry that has its job cut out for it.

Over half of all Americans are less likely to take a cruise now than over a year ago, says the new Harris Poll out this week. But those numbers are heavily skewed to those who have never been on a cruise before and were probably apprehensive about it anyway. Everyone is to a certain degree before their first sailing. Those who have sailed before were not having as many second thoughts.

The March Harris Poll asked 2,052 adults aged 18 and over in an online poll, how they felt about cruising. Those surveyed clearly thought less of cruising since events that included the grounding of Costa Concordia and a fire aboard Carnival Triumph. That trend continued in the May Harris poll, indicating that public perception of cruises continues to fall while airlines soar higher.”More than six in 10 Americans (62 percent) agree that air travel is much more reliable than taking a cruise (up from 57 percent in February), and the majority (56 percent) agree that air travel is much safer (up from 50 percent in February),” says a TravelMole report.

But cruise lines have not stood by idly. Nearly all cruise lines have adopted a new, higher, more efficient focus on safety. The new Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights spells out what will happen in many otherwise cloudy areas.

Will they come back? Better than ever?

Apparently cruise lines think so, investing billions in ships, ports and jobs. Just this week, Costa Cruises announced the building of a new ship, their largest ever.

The 132,500-ton Costa Diadema promises a different experience, breaking up areas of the ship into several ocean-facing venues, each with a different theme. Also, Princess Cruises new generation ship Royal Princess arrived in Southampton for a smattering of inaugural events.

“I wouldn’t give much credibility to the latest Harris or TravelMole polls,” says cruise expert Stewart Chiron, CEO CruiseGuy. “Their findings are highly subjective and run contrary to real life actions of cruise passengers, as ships continue to sail full. “

Maybe it’s a little of the “if you build it, they will come” thing or maybe it’s the faith cruise lines have in their unique travel experience that is becoming more diverse all the time.

“Considering less than 15% of the US population has cruised, I’d say 92% of their respondents have probably never cruised, 75% probably still live with their parents and 48% have never travelled more than 1000 miles from home. Based on current trends, their findings aren’t supported,” concluded Chiron.

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