Picture taken by my friend Cyndi Leos....thank you Cyndi.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Moment of Ego Brings Death and Disaster...

I just cannot stop thinking of the families of the 11 dead and the 25 still missing passengers and crew unaccounted for from the recent Cruise ship disaster Friday, January 13, 2012.  Apparently, the Captain Francesco Schettino, decided to do the equivalent of a navigational "fly by" without permission.  I've read he did it for a head waiter on the ship who was from Giglio, the Tuscan island where the ship hit a reef 150 meters (480 feet) from shore.

How can a Captain of a cruise ship carrying 4200 lives, even consider a moment of ego risking all those lives he is sworn to protect? We are asked to trust Pilots of planes, Captains of ships, Bus drivers who transport our children on school buses, Conductors on trains, Firemen, and Police Officers.  This man was released today on house arrest!  I cannot believe it!!!!  He should be kept in jail.  He may have saved thousands by steering the ship closer to shore, but he is solely responsible for the deaths of 11 people.

Captain Francesco Schettino
of the ship Costa Concordia

Timeline and maneuvers of the Captain

At 9:35pm, two and a half hours after leaving port to begin the cruise, the Captain turned off the alarm, which automatically sounds when the ship goes off his programmed course, by manually steering it without permission to move the ship closer to shore.  Once he realized he had damaged the ship, he maneuvered the ship to get closer to shore, but why he did not order the life boards to be lowered immediately, is definitely a question to be answered.  Many of those missing may have been saved...

View of the ship listing after hitting the reef 

I cannot believe how close the ship is to shore!  Can you imagine seeing this sight from shore or a passenger seeing it from the ship? I would panicked beyond all reason if I knew I had to jump into the water at night!

Part of the reef embedded in the ship's hull, tearing an 160 ft gash, flooding the ship. That hole is the size of over two lengths of a professional tennis court (78' long)...

Rescuers boarding the capsized ship to search for survivors

Aerial view of the capsized ship 

One of my biggest fears is to drown.  Being out in deep water terrifies me. I cannot imagine the horror and panic those passengers felt, not to mention the families of those missing passengers and crew!  I read this morning, a Hungarian mother flew into Italy to identify her 38 year old son who was a musician on board the ship.  Another young German woman notified authorities she was back home in Germany.  She must have got herself to shore and found her way ASAP back to Germany.

11 Germans, 6 Italians, 4 French, 2 Americans, 1 Indian and 1 Peruvian are still missing.

Supposedly, the divers have searched the entire ship, but further searching has been suspended due to the ship moving slightly and an impending storm due Thursday.  The owners have still not decided who will first remove the 500,000 gallons of fuel still on board the ship, or who will patch and re-float the ship or cut it up and salvage the pieces hauled off on barges. The ship is 950 feet long and 115 feet wide with 45,000 tons of steel.  One of the salvage companies being considered is the Dutch salvage company, SMIT, which has handled many maritime disasters successfully.

I've read the waters off Giglio are pristine which are also a sanitary for various fish, dolphins, porpoises and whales.  Hopefully, whichever salvage company is selected, it can safely remove all that oil.  I pray the storm due tomorrow will not add to this tragedy and contaminate the clear, blue waters.

I keep thinking maybe some of the missing are trapped underneath the submerged side of the ship.  I read how passengers had to swim as fast as they could because they feared the ship would fall on them.  My heart aches for those poor souls who had just begun, what was to be this fantastic cruise, only to have it end in disaster before their first night on board!  Many described it to be similar to the movie Titanic.

My husband talked me into a Mexican Riviera Cruise back in 2006.  It was my first cruise ever. We chose to sail on Norwegian Cruise Lines.  We had a suite on the mid top of the ship. We were treated like royalty, the food and accommodations were excellent.  I did enjoy it, more so after we docked safely and disembarked the ship.  I always felt "on guard" and could not really relax... I had to take Xanax to relieve my anxiety.  The first night out I really had to talk to myself to calm myself down...

I dislike flying over water as well.  People tell me there are fewer accidents with planes and ships and I am more at risk driving in my car.  Maybe so, but your odds of surviving a car accident are certainly higher than on an airplane or cruise ship!

Yesterday, I watched a program on the History channel about the 5 deadliest creatures no one wants to tangle with in the ocean.  Prior to seeing this program, my main fear were sharks...This Mediterranean cruise is the exact cruise my husband wants us to take next year with his cousins.... I had reservations before I saw this, now, it justifies why I prefer not to cruise...Maybe the odds are slight, but if the odds are not in my favor, I do not want to be on a ship or a plane when it happens.

My prayers go out to all the families and friends of the still missing passengers and crew.  I pray for a miracle they will be found safe.

Photo of the global satellite view of the Costa Concordia released today


DJan said...

Me too. I hope a miracle will occur that allows those missing people to survive. What a disaster. I have watched the aftermath in hopes that more will be found alive, but every day that passes, that scenario becomes less likely. So very sad.

Jeanie said...

This was such an unnecessary tragedy. I agree that the captain should still be in jail.
We have gone on several cruises and I am fine with them, but I have gotten to where I prefer much smaller ships.

JeannetteLS said...

I found that whole thing--FIND it appalling. That someone responsible for so many lives would indulge in that sort of display... And we are surprised that he was also a coward?

I have never wanted to go on a cruise because of the lack of control for the entire trip. I fly because I can forget for a while that I am in the AIR with no control because I become lost in that world. But I feel claustrophobic at the thought of a cruise.

Donna. Do me a favor. If you go, tell me AFTERWARD!!!

I pray with you and Daphne for a miracle.

Thisisme. said...

I agree, Donna, our prayers must go out to all the families affected by this tragedy. I couldn't believe it when I heard the Captain's excuse on the news yesterday - he said that he fell into the lifeboat "by mistake"!!!