Costa Concordia: Black box reveals confusion on ship
AN AUDIO extract has revealed the extent of the chaos on the bridge of the Costa Concordia, shortly after the luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of an Italian island in January of this year.
• Audio recording reveals chaotic scenes on board cruise ship
• Captain Francesco Schettino blamed for causing disaster and is accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship before every passenger had been evacuated
• Schettino and eight others under investigation, including three Costa Crociere executives
In the recording, captain Francesco Schettino and his deputy, Ciro Ambrosio, can be heard yelling conflicting instructions after the ship struck rocks close to the island of Giglio.
The recording was heard at the start of a court hearing in the Tuscan town of Grosseto, where an investigation into the disaster is currently taking place. Although not heard on the clip itself, the 51-year-old captain is reported to have said ‘Let’s go and do a salute (to Giglio)’ before later telling the Indonesian helmsman to change course ‘otherwise we go on the rocks’, as the ship sailed dangerously close to the island.
Schettino can then be heard ordering the crew to shut the water-tight compartments in the bottom of the vessel. The audio clip continues, in a mix of Italian and English, with Schettino repeating his orders.
Schettino is accused of causing the shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning ship, but has defended his actions, claiming that many more lives would have been lost had he not steered the ship into shallower waters.
He denies the accusations and has not been charged. Any trial is unlikely to begin before next year.
A further eight people are also under investigation, including three executives from the ship’s parent company Costa Crociere.
Court-appointed experts have laid most of the blame for the collision with the reef and the botched evacuation on Schettino, but also noted the following:
• Not all crew members understood Italian
• Not all had current safety and evacuation certification
• Not all passengers had had the chance to participate in evacuation drills.
Passengers have recounted scenes of chaos during the disaster, with crew members giving conflicting, confusing directions and described a delayed evacuation, with many lifeboats unable to be lowered because the boat was listing too far to one side. Some of the 4200 people aboard jumped into the sea and swam to Giglio, while others had to be plucked from the ship by rescue helicopters hours after the collision.
Costa Crociere has denied negligence and has distanced itself from Schettino, whom they fired in July, although he is currently fighting to get his job back.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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