Costa Concordia, A Year Later

Costa Concordia sailed aground off the coast of Italy one year ago this Sunday. Today, the ship sits off the coast of Italy where it ran aground on Friday, January 13, 2012, taking the lives of 32 passengers in the process. Ongoing work is underway to remove the grounded ship. Also ongoing is a renewed focus on safety that exceeds previous efforts, covers all major cruise lines and aims to convince many travelers that cruise travel is safe.

Those on board the Costa Concordia at the time initially said it was “like being on the Titanic.” The loss of life may not have been as great but parallels drawn between the Titanic and Concordia were undeniable.

Passengers in the wrong place at the wrong time were left without life jackets. Confusion about what to do and where to go reined over already-in-place safety procedures. Over-confident ship owners were forced to take another look at how they go about their business.

In the aftermath came rules requiring mandatory safety drills before ships leave port, including mandates that each ship carry extra life jackets and that crews practice loading lifeboats with people. New rules also call for cruise lines to file a voyage plan showing exactly where ships are going, much like a pilot’s flight plan.


Still, questions remain about the role ship’s Captain Francesco Schettino had in the event. Also of concern: progress on the removal of Costa Concordia from the coast of Italy and enduring environmental risks to marine life.

Costa Cruises, along with its salvage company, has launched a website with detailed information, plans and images relating to the Costa Concordia wreck-removal project. See more on this extensive engineering task via this video:

A ceremony is set for the island of Giglio on Sunday where sirens will go off at 9:42 p.m, marking the one-year anniversary of the Costa Concordia grounding.

[Photo Credit- Flickr User EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection]

New Costa Condordia Images Show Scene Of Tragedy

Eleven months after the cruise ship Costa Concordia grounded off the coast of Italy, the ship remains on its side. “60 Minutes” sent a camera crew in that brought out never-before-seen images of the surreal site on this “60 Minutes Overtime” web exclusive.

“You’ve got this giant thing that’s three football fields long sitting on a slanted mountainside underwater,” says “60 Minutes” producer Rich Bonin, whose story on the Costa Concordia salvage project aired on the broadcast this week on the “CBS News” website. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

“CBS News” photographers used a number of unusual photographic techniques to get the shots including a hovering drone flying miniature cameras above the ship, cameras as close to the hulking wreck as possible.

[Video Credit- CBS News]

Captain Of Wrecked Cruise Ship Cries Foul, Says He’s Innocent

When we last visited Captain Francesco Schettino, he was being accused of several crimes as a result of the Costa Concordia grounding. He still is. But now, the Italian master of the ill-fated cruise ship says he’s innocent and that the truth will be told – in his new book.

“Soon I will reveal the shocking truth,” Schettino told Italian newspaper Il Giornale as reported by the Telegraph. “And then all those people who denigrated me will have to apologize, not to me but to the families of the victims and to the public, which was conned with false information.”

By all accounts, Costa Concordia was sailing too close to shore on January 13, 2012, when the ship grounded off the coast of Italy. However it happened, the event took the lives of 32 passengers and crew in the process.Now, Schettino, who has been accused of abandoning his ship, manslaughter and causing the shipwreck, says he is innocent and did all he could do to help. Sticking to his story that he tripped and fell into a lifeboat, the fallen 52-year-old captain is resolute in his contention.

“I will no longer accept being massacred with slanderous lies,” Schettino told Il Giornale. “I’m writing a book and I will reveal what people don’t want to come to light.”

No details are available on the book or when it will be out.

Meanwhile, salvage operations continue at the site of the grounding of Costa Concordia, now aided by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Il Fatto Quotidiano]

Costa Concordia Wreck Removal Detailed On New Website

Costa Concordia grounded off the coast of Italy last January and work has been ongoing since then to clear the area of all things cruise ship related. Taking a cruise ship that has fallen over on its side and getting it back upright is apparently a gigantic job that has never before attempted. This week, Costa Cruises, along with its salvage company, launched a website with detailed information, plans and images relating to the Costa Concordia wreck-removal project.

Parbuckling is the technical term for the process of rotating the wreck into an upright position and is said to be one of the most complex and crucial phases of the removal plan. The Parbuckling Project website gives step by step illustrations that show just exactly how the salvage team hopes to make that happen.

The site’s main features include background information about the project and the companies involved, up-to-date news, multimedia assets including videos, 3-D animations and pictures, thematic insights and technical details.Just completing the initial phase, anchoring and stabilization of the wreck has been done to prevent any slipping or sinking.

The next phase of the removal plan prepares the false bottom on which the wreck will rest after rotation in two separate phases.

First grout bags will be positioned and filled with cement to create a stable base for the hull.

Next, platforms will be fixed in place and a crane will be used to install water-tight structures called caissons on one side of the wreck.

Then the parbuckling happens, lifting the ship up on one side. To balance the wreck, more caissons will be installed on the other side, refloating the ship which has been resting on the platform shown above.

Its a never-been-done feat of engineering that takes technology from a number of unrelated fields to make it happen. Costa promises that the Parbuckling Project website will be constantly updated to reflect the different phases of the plan as the work progresses.

Getting the ship out of the way can’t come soon enough for environmentalists who recently found and rescued giant mussels from under the wreck, as we see in this video.

[Photo/Image Credit: the Parbuckling Project]

Grounded Cruise Ship Trial Begins With Black Box Evidence

The grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia may not be on trial itself but court proceedings began this week, looking for answers to what happened. More than 100 lawyers representing survivors and the families of passengers and crew members who died in the January event are on hand to plead their case.

The proceedings will be based on evidence from the ship’s black box recordings, navigational details and conversations recorded on the bridge of the ship. Making up part of the 270 pages of documents before the court is Captain Francesco Schettino’s testimony that his ship was not too close to the island of Gigio. Schettino maintains that he was simply following company policy to “salute” the island.

Thirty-two people died after Schettino allegedly took the ship off course and dangerously close to the Tuscan island of Giglio on the night of January 13. The ship then ran aground and capsized. Hearings this week will help decide whether to put Schettino on trial for manslaughter among other charges.

“We want to look him in the eye to see how he will react to the accusations,” German survivor Michael Liessen, 50, who was attending with his wife said in a ClarionLedger report.