The Business Times

Food for thought on grounding of Costa Concordia

Actions of captain and crew and procedures followed fell far short during the emergency evacuation of the Italian-flag cruise ship, leading to the loss of 32 lives

Published Tue, Mar 12, 2019 · 09:50 PM
Share this article.

LAST week I attended a lecture in London which was the most thought provoking I have heard for a very long time. The speaker was Captain Michael Lloyd, a retired ship's master with many years of experience at sea behind him and a formidable reputation as a campaigner on maritime safety issues. For several years he worked tirelessly to prevent the all too frequent deaths in enclosed spaces on ships.

But last week, onboard the President, the headquarters ship of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, he was speaking on a different subject. He recounted how in January 2012 the 114,137 gross tonnage Italian-flag cruise ship Costa Concordia collided with a submerged rock close to an Italian island, causing a 50-metre gash in her hull. She partially capsized a short distance off the shore. Of the 4,229 persons on board the vessel - 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew- 32 died. The ship's captain Francesco Schettino was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in jail. Following plea bargaining, the owners were fined one million euros (S$1.5 million) and five other crew members were given suspended jail sentences.

Serious accidents are very rarely, probably never, due to one single cause. There is almost always a coming together of circumstances and actions which lead to disaster. However, what was so shocking about the account delivered by Capt Lloyd was the extent of those contributory causes of this incident. Everywhere he looked he found something awful. Every aspect of the shore-based management, the actions of the master, the conduct of the bridge team, onboard training and preparedness, the crew's actual response, the appropriateness of international regulations and the performance of lifesaving and emergency equipment on the day fell abysmally short.

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to

Transport & Logistics


Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here