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The Costa Concordia Disaster: How Human Error Made It Worse

By: Becky Little

Updated: August 10, 2023 | Original: June 23, 2021

Night view on January 16, 2012, of the cruise liner Costa Concordia aground in front of the harbor of Isola del Giglio after hitting underwater rocks on January 13.

Many famous naval disasters happen far out at sea, but on January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia wrecked just off the coast of an Italian island in relatively shallow water. The avoidable disaster killed 32 people and seriously injured many others, and left investigators wondering: Why was the luxury cruise ship sailing so close to the shore in the first place?

During the ensuing trial, prosecutors came up with a tabloid-ready explanation : The married ship captain had sailed it so close to the island to impress a much younger Moldovan dancer with whom he was having an affair.

Whether or not Captain Francesco Schettino was trying to impress his girlfriend is debatable. (Schettino insisted the ship sailed close to shore to salute other mariners and give passengers a good view.) But whatever the reason for getting too close, the Italian courts found the captain, four crew members and one official from the ship’s company, Costa Crociere (part of Carnival Corporation), to be at fault for causing the disaster and preventing a safe evacuation. The wreck was not the fault of unexpected weather or ship malfunction—it was a disaster caused entirely by a series of human errors.

“At any time when you have an incident similar to Concordia, there is never…a single causal factor,” says Brad Schoenwald, a senior marine inspector at the United States Coast Guard. “It is generally a sequence of events, things that line up in a bad way that ultimately create that incident.”

Wrecking Near the Shore

Technicians pass in a small boat near the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia lying aground in front of the Isola del Giglio on January 26, 2012 after hitting underwater rocks on January 13.

The Concordia was supposed to take passengers on a seven-day Italian cruise from Civitavecchia to Savona. But when it deviated from its planned path to sail closer to the island of Giglio, the ship struck a reef known as the Scole Rocks. The impact damaged the ship, allowing water to seep in and putting the 4,229 people on board in danger.

Sailing close to shore to give passengers a nice view or salute other sailors is known as a “sail-by,” and it’s unclear how often cruise ships perform these maneuvers. Some consider them to be dangerous deviations from planned routes. In its investigative report on the 2012 disaster, Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports found that the Concordia “was sailing too close to the coastline, in a poorly lit shore area…at an unsafe distance at night time and at high speed (15.5 kts).”

In his trial, Captain Schettino blamed the shipwreck on Helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin, who he claimed reacted incorrectly to his order; and argued that if the helmsman had reacted correctly and quickly, the ship wouldn’t have wrecked. However, an Italian naval admiral testified in court that even though the helmsman was late in executing the captain’s orders, “the crash would’ve happened anyway.” (The helmsman was one of the four crew members convicted in court for contributing to the disaster.)

A Questionable Evacuation

Former Captain of the Costa Concordia Francesco Schettino speaks with reporters after being aboard the ship with the team of experts inspecting the wreck on February 27, 2014 in Isola del Giglio, Italy. The Italian captain went back onboard the wreck for the first time since the sinking of the cruise ship on January 13, 2012, as part of his trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship.

Evidence introduced in Schettino’s trial suggests that the safety of his passengers and crew wasn’t his number one priority as he assessed the damage to the Concordia. The impact and water leakage caused an electrical blackout on the ship, and a recorded phone call with Costa Crociere’s crisis coordinator, Roberto Ferrarini, shows he tried to downplay and cover up his actions by saying the blackout was what actually caused the accident.

“I have made a mess and practically the whole ship is flooding,” Schettino told Ferrarini while the ship was sinking. “What should I say to the media?… To the port authorities I have said that we had…a blackout.” (Ferrarini was later convicted for contributing to the disaster by delaying rescue operations.)

Schettino also didn’t immediately alert the Italian Search and Rescue Authority about the accident. The impact on the Scole Rocks occurred at about 9:45 p.m. local time, and the first person to contact rescue officials about the ship was someone on the shore, according to the investigative report. Search and Rescue contacted the ship a few minutes after 10:00 p.m., but Schettino didn’t tell them what had happened for about 20 more minutes.

A little more than an hour after impact, the crew began to evacuate the ship. But the report noted that some passengers testified that they didn’t hear the alarm to proceed to the lifeboats. Evacuation was made even more chaotic by the ship listing so far to starboard, making walking inside very difficult and lowering the lifeboats on one side, near to impossible. Making things worse, the crew had dropped the anchor incorrectly, causing the ship to flop over even more dramatically.

Through the confusion, the captain somehow made it into a lifeboat before everyone else had made it off. A coast guard member angrily told him on the phone to “Get back on board, damn it!” —a recorded sound bite that turned into a T-shirt slogan in Italy.

Schettino argued that he fell into a lifeboat because of how the ship was listing to one side, but this argument proved unconvincing. In 2015, a court found Schettino guilty of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, abandoning ship before passengers and crew were evacuated and lying to authorities about the disaster. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. In addition to Schettino, Ferrarini and Rusli Bin, the other people who received convictions for their role in the disaster were Cabin Service Director Manrico Giampedroni, First Officer Ciro Ambrosio and Third Officer Silvia Coronica.

carnival cruise italy disaster

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10 years later, Costa Concordia disaster is still vivid for survivors

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia lays on its starboard side after it ran aground off the coast of Italy in 2012.

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Ten years have passed since the Costa Concordia cruise ship slammed into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio . But for the passengers on board and the residents who welcomed them ashore, the memories of that harrowing, freezing night remain vividly etched into their minds.

The dinner plates that flew off the tables when the rocks first gashed the hull. The blackout after the ship’s engine room flooded and its generators failed. The final mad scramble to evacuate the listing liner and then the extraordinary generosity of Giglio islanders who offered shoes, sweatshirts and shelter until the sun rose and passengers were ferried to the mainland.

Italy on Thursday is marking the 10th anniversary of the Concordia disaster with a daylong commemoration that will end with a candlelit vigil near the moment the ship hit the reef: 9:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2012. The events will honor the 32 people who died that night, the 4,200 survivors, but also the residents of Giglio, who took in passengers and crew and then lived with the Concordia’s wrecked carcass off their shore for another two years until it was righted and hauled away for scrap.

“For us islanders, when we remember some event, we always refer to whether it was before or after the Concordia,” said Matteo Coppa, who was 23 and fishing on the jetty when the darkened Concordia listed toward shore and then collapsed onto its side in the water.

“I imagine it like a nail stuck to the wall that marks that date, as a before and after,” he said, recounting how he joined the rescue effort that night, helping pull ashore the dazed, injured and freezing passengers from lifeboats.

The sad anniversary comes as the cruise industry, shut down in much of the world for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, is once again in the spotlight because of COVID-19 outbreaks that threaten passenger safety. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control last month warned people across-the-board not to go on cruises , regardless of their vaccination status, because of the risks of infection.

A couple stands on a rear balcony of the Ruby Princess cruise ship while docked in San Francisco, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a cruise ship that docked in San Francisco on Thursday after a dozen vaccinated passengers tested positive for coronavirus. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

A dozen passengers on cruise ship test positive for coronavirus

The passengers, whose infections were found through random testing, were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, according to the Port of San Francisco.

Jan. 7, 2022

For Concordia survivor Georgia Ananias, the COVID-19 infections are just the latest evidence that passenger safety still isn’t a top priority for the cruise ship industry. Passengers aboard the Concordia were largely left on their own to find life jackets and a functioning lifeboat after the captain steered the ship close too shore in a stunt. He then delayed an evacuation order until it was too late, with lifeboats unable to lower because the ship was listing too heavily.

“I always said this will not define me, but you have no choice,” Ananias said in an interview from her home in Los Angeles. “We all suffer from PTSD. We had a lot of guilt that we survived and 32 other people died.”

Prosecutors blamed the delayed evacuation order and conflicting instructions given by crew for the chaos that ensued as passengers scrambled to get off the ship. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before all the passengers and crew had evacuated.

Ananias and her family declined Costa’s initial $14,500 compensation offered to each passenger and sued Costa, a unit of U.S.-based Carnival Corp., to try to cover the cost of their medical bills and therapy for the post-traumatic stress they have suffered. But after eight years in the U.S. and then Italian court system, they lost their case.

“I think people need to be aware that when you go on a cruise, that if there is a problem, you will not have the justice that you may be used to in the country in which you are living,” said Ananias, who went onto become a top official in the International Cruise Victims association, an advocacy group that lobbies to improve safety aboard ships and increase transparency and accountability in the industry.

Costa didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on the anniversary.

Cruise Lines International Assn., the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, stressed in a statement to the Associated Press that passenger and crew safety were the industry’s top priority, and that cruising remains one of the safest vacation experiences available.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the victims of the Concordia tragedy and their families on this sad anniversary,” CLIA said. It said it has worked over the past 10 years with the International Maritime Organization and the maritime industry to “drive a safety culture that is based on continuous improvement.”

For Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli, the memories of that night run the gamut: the horror of seeing the capsized ship, the scramble to coordinate rescue services on shore, the recovery of the first bodies and then the pride that islanders rose to the occasion to tend to the survivors.

Ortelli was later on hand when, in September 2013, the 115,000-ton, 1,000-foot long cruise ship was righted vertical off its seabed graveyard in an extraordinary feat of engineering. But the night of the disaster, a Friday the 13th, remains seared in his memory.

“It was a night that, in addition to being a tragedy, had a beautiful side because the response of the people was a spontaneous gesture that was appreciated around the world,” Ortelli said.

It seemed the natural thing to do at the time. “But then we realized that on that night, in just a few hours, we did something incredible.”

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Costa Concordia: Italy marks ten years since cruise ship disaster

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia lays on its starboard side after it ran aground off the coast of the Isola del Giglio island, Italy on Jan. 13, 2012.

Thirty-two people died when the ship slammed into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Italy will mark the 10th anniversary of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster on Thursday with a daylong commemoration.

The events will end with a candlelight vigil at 9:45 pm when the ship hit the reef.

It will also honour the 4,200 survivors and the residents of Giglio who took in passengers and crew, offering clothes and shelter until passengers could return to the mainland.

"For us islanders, when we remember some event, we always refer to whether it was before or after the Concordia," said Matteo Coppa, who was 23 and fishing on the jetty when the darkened Concordia listed toward shore and then collapsed onto its side in the water.

"I imagine it like a nail stuck to the wall that marks that date, as a before and after," he said, recounting how he joined the rescue effort that night, helping pull ashore the dazed, injured and freezing passengers from lifeboats.

The boat would stay off the coast of the island for another ten years until being removed in 2014.

The anniversary comes as the cruise industry, shut down in much of the world for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is once again in the spotlight because of virus outbreaks that threaten passenger safety.

For Concordia survivor Georgia Ananias, the COVID-19 infections are just the latest evidence that passenger safety still isn’t a top priority for the cruise ship industry.

“I always said this will not define me, but you have no choice," Ananias said in an interview from her home in Los Angeles, Calif. “We all suffer from PTSD. We had a lot of guilt that we survived and 32 other people died.”

Prosecutors blamed a delayed evacuation order and conflicting instructions given by crew for the chaos that ensued as passengers scrambled to get off the ship.

The captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before all the passengers and crew had evacuated.

Ananias and her family declined Costa’s initial $14,500 compensation offered to each passenger and sued Costa, a unit of US-based Carnival Corp., to try to cover the cost of their medical bills and therapy for the post-traumatic stress they have suffered. But after eight years in the US and then Italian court system, they lost their case.

“I think people need to be aware that when you go on a cruise, that if there is a problem, you will not have the justice that you may be used to in the country in which you are living,” said Ananias, who went onto become a top official in the International Cruise Victims association, an advocacy group that lobbies to improve safety aboard ships and increase transparency and accountability in the industry.

Costa didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on the anniversary.

Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, stressed in a statement to The Associated Press that passenger and crew safety was the industry's top priority, and that cruising remains one of the safest vacation experiences available.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the victims of the Concordia tragedy and their families on this sad anniversary," CLIA said. It said it has worked over the past 10 years with the International Maritime Organisation and the maritime industry to “drive a safety culture that is based on continuous improvement."

Andrew Medichini/AP Photo, FILE

For Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli, the memories of that night run the gamut: the horror of seeing the capsized ship, the scramble to coordinate rescue services on shore, the recovery of the first bodies and then the pride that islanders rose to the occasion to tend to the survivors.

Ortelli was later on hand when, in September 2013, the 115,000-ton, 300-metre long cruise ship was righted vertical off its seabed graveyard in an extraordinary feat of engineering. But the night of the disaster, a Friday the 13th, remains seared in his memory.

“It was a night that, in addition to being a tragedy, had a beautiful side because the response of the people was a spontaneous gesture that was appreciated around the world,” Ortelli said.

It seemed the natural thing to do at the time. “But then we realised that on that night, in just a few hours, we did something incredible.”

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US lawsuits targeting Carnival in Italian cruise ship disaster facing legal obstacles

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Despite legal obstacles that might force them to sue in Italy, hundreds of Costa Concordia passengers and up to 1,000 businesses on the island where the capsized cruise ship ran aground are pressing ahead with U.S. lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from Miami-based Carnival Corp.

The lawsuits filed in both federal and state courts contend that Carnival is the corporate parent of the Costa brand, which operated the vessel, and is ultimately responsible for any safety violations, negligence or recklessness that may have led to the Jan. 13 accident that claimed 32 lives. Investigators say the ship rammed a reef while passing too close to Giglio Island, off Italy's Tuscan coast.

"Costa Cruise Lines is the alter ego of Carnival," said Edward Ricci, whose lawsuit seeks to represent Giglio Island tourist-related businesses that claim the disaster deterred visitors, polluted environmentally sensitive local waters and depressed property values.

Even though the Costa Crociere subsidiary is based in Genoa, Italy, and the Concordia itself never sailed to a U.S. port, Ricci contends that it and Carnival's other brands all answer to its Miami headquarters. Carnival, he noted, announced a company-wide audit of safety practices after the disaster that is being overseen by Miami-based executives.

"It is from this headquarters that the tragic crash of the Costa Concordia could have been prevented by insisting on better training of officers, safer operation and navigation of ships, and elimination of the reckless practice of 'sail-by salutes,'" Ricci said in court papers, referring to evidence that the Concordia's captain sailed too close to the island on purpose for publicity and to impress passengers.

Similar claims are made in at least four other lawsuits, one of them filed last week that represents 155 passengers from 14 countries, including some U.S. citizens. All together the lawsuits seek tens of millions of dollars in damages from Carnival, which is the world's largest cruise line.

A Carnival spokeswoman said the company would not comment on pending litigation beyond the court filings.

In those court documents, Carnival contends that the Italian Costa line is a separate corporate entity and that any lawsuits should be filed in Italy. Lawyers for Carnival say the company does not own the Concordia and does not manage Costa's day-to-day activities.

"This is an Italian dispute and should be tried in an Italian court," said Thad Dameris, representing Carnival in the case involving Giglio Island businesses. "This case has no real connection to the United States."

Still, the companies are closely intertwined. Costa Crociere is a subsidiary of London-based Carnival plc, which appears on the surface to be separate from the Miami-based Carnival. Yet they share the same top executives and board of directors and "operate as a single economic enterprise," according to Carnival's court filings. And Costa Cruise Lines Inc. is based in Hollywood, Fla., and issued statements after the accident.

Attorneys suing Carnival claim Italian courts often take years longer than their U.S. counterparts to deal with similar lawsuits and that there is no method of bringing a class action in Italy, as the Giglio Island businesses want.

Gabrielle D'Alemberte, who represents five U.S. citizens suing over the Costa Concordia accident, said Italy also does not allow attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis in which the lawyer's fee comes out of any settlement or verdict. She also said damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress are harder to collect.

"This was traumatizing at every level," she said. "That's a cause of action in this country. It's not in Italy."

Carnival, however, contends that everything to do with Costa Crociere, the Concordia disaster and subsequent investigations is much more readily available in Italy, including witnesses, documents and other evidence.

None of the lawsuits is close to going to trial. U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum, a recent appointee of President Barack Obama, will soon decide whether or not to dismiss the Giglio Island businesses lawsuit based on Carnival's claim that it belongs in Italy.

The passenger lawsuits have to deal with one more complication: tickets for the Concordia cruise include what's called a "forum clause," in which the passenger agrees by making the purchase that any legal action would be filed in Italy. The key for their lawyers targeting Carnival in the U.S. would be convincing a judge that Carnival and Costa are identical, and that enforcement of the clause is unreasonable or unfair.

Meanwhile, the ship itself remains lying on its side just off the Italian island. Italian officials say they expect it to be upright and floating again by spring of 2013. A Florida company, Titan Salvage of Pompano Beach, won the bid to handle the work.

In addition, an Italian court on Oct. 15 is scheduled to hold a preliminary hearing on potential charges against those responsible for the shipwreck. Capt. Francisco Schettino has said he was distracted by a cellphone call and that his decision to move the ship into shallower waters likely saved lives.

Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

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Ten years on, survivors haunted by Italy cruise ship disaster

Rome (AFP) – On the evening of January 13, 2012, Umberto Trotti heard the terrified cries of his wife and baby in the lifeboat below, and threw himself off the capsizing Italian cruise ship.

Issued on: 13/01/2022 - 04:00 Modified: 13/01/2022 - 03:58

The Costa Concordia, a vast, luxury liner, had run aground off Italy's Giglio island and was toppling over into freezing waters, in a disaster that would leave 32 people dead.

There had been no room for Trotti in the lifeboat that took his wife Fjorda and two young children, but on hearing their panic as the vessel was lowered into the water, he leaped to join them.

"It was instinct, my family needed me. I jumped, three or four metres (10 or 13 feet). I landed on a big German, poor man," Trotti told AFP.

The family were unsure whether to go back to Giglio for a ceremony Thursday and a candle-lit procession marking 10 years since the disaster.

Ship horns will sound and church bells ring at 9:45pm (20:45 GMT) to mark the moment the liner, owned by Costa Crociere, subsidiary of US based giant Carnival, struck an outcrop, after captain Francesco Schettino ordered a sail-by "salute" to the Tuscan island.

Trotti, 44, and Fjorda, 33, had been on their honeymoon.

"It was supposed to be the best experience of our lives," he said.

"Those not onboard will never understand. I was so in shock, I was walking like a zombie."

The liner, carrying 4,229 people from 70 countries, ran aground while many passengers were at dinner.

Schettino, later sentenced to 16 years for the shipwreck, delayed sounding the alarm.

Evacuation began over an hour after the collision, by which point the lifeboats on one side were unusable.

"We were saved by a chef," Trotti says. They had been in the blue and gold Ristorante Milano when the ship hit land.

Paolo Maspero, still in his chef's hat, "took my six-month old son in his arms. The water was coming in".

"If he hadn't come to get us we would have died," said Trotti, who could not swim.

Images shot later by the coastguard would show divers in the sunken restaurant, battling through flotsam, searching for victims.

People in the Vienna Bar were listening to pianist Antimo Magnotta, who fell off his stool as the ship lurched.

He found himself surrounded by terrified passengers demanding answers.

"A woman came up to me carrying two very small children. She was like a tiger, a lion, she almost attacked me. She said 'you have to tell me what to do to save my children'," he told AFP.

Magnotta, who has written a book called "The Pianist of Costa Concordia", said he did as he was trained to do, and reassured passengers the captain would make an announcement.

"I promised them. But Schettino never spoke. It was a huge betrayal," he said.

The electricity failed and as it became increasingly difficult to walk on the rolling ship, a series of "hellish" blackouts began.

'Unforgivable'

"People disappeared in the dark, then reappeared again. They cried out 'mum where are you?'. I remember to this day the names people shouted out, looking for each other," said Magnotta, 51.

He eventually managed to climb down the side of the ship. Two of his friends died that night.

Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the musician moved to London and found work as a waiter at the Victoria and Albert Museum cafe, which by luck had a piano in it.

Months later he persuaded his manager to let him play it, and was given a permanent gig.

Ten years on, he wants to return to Giglio to play for the locals. But he is unable to forgive Schettino "for never having said sorry".

The former captain was convicted in 2015 of multiple counts of manslaughter, causing a maritime accident and abandoning ship before all passengers and crew had been evacuated.

Schettino -- dubbed "Captain Coward" in the media -- has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. His lawyers are expected to request this year that he serve the rest of his sentence at home for good behaviour.

Missing brother

Kevin Rebello, 47, has refused to judge Schettino, despite the death of his younger brother on board.

The body of Russel, a 32-year-old waiter, was recovered three years after the disaster, when the rusting wreck was dismantled.

He had been ill that night. "He was in his cabin when it flooded with water," Rebello told AFP.

"He rushed out barefoot in shorts and met a friend who lent him clothes... He helped people into lifeboats.

"He was still helping them when the ship tilted over sharply, and people fell into the water. No-one saw him after that."

Reliving the disaster is "incredibly difficult", but Rebello is returning to Giglio for the anniversary.

"It is like a second home for me. I feel close to my brother when I'm there," he said.

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'We all suffer from PTSD': 10 years after the Costa Concordia cruise disaster, memories remain

GIGLIO, Italy — Ten years have passed since the Costa Concordia cruise ship slammed into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio. But for the passengers on board and the residents who welcomed them ashore, the memories of that harrowing, freezing night remain vividly etched into their minds.

The dinner plates that flew off the tables when the rocks first gashed the hull. The blackout after the ship's engine room flooded and its generators failed. The final mad scramble to evacuate the listing liner and then the extraordinary generosity of Giglio islanders who offered shoes, sweatshirts and shelter until the sun rose and passengers were ferried to the mainland.

Italy on Thursday is marking the 10th anniversary of the Concordia disaster with a daylong commemoration that will end with a candlelit vigil near the moment the ship hit the reef: 9:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2012. The events will honor the 32 people who died that night, the 4,200 survivors, but also the residents of Giglio, who took in passengers and crew and then lived with the Concordia's wrecked carcass off their shore for another two years until it was righted and hauled away for scrap.

► CDC travel guidance: CDC warns 'avoid cruise travel' after more than 5,000 COVID cases in two weeks amid omicron

“For us islanders, when we remember some event, we always refer to whether it was before or after the Concordia,” said Matteo Coppa, who was 23 and fishing on the jetty when the darkened Concordia listed toward shore and then collapsed onto its side in the water.

“I imagine it like a nail stuck to the wall that marks that date, as a before and after,” he said, recounting how he joined the rescue effort that night, helping pull ashore the dazed, injured and freezing passengers from lifeboats.

The sad anniversary comes as the cruise industry, shut down in much of the world for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, is once again in the spotlight because of COVID-19 outbreaks that threaten passenger safety. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control last month  warned people across-the-board not to go on cruises, regardless of their vaccination status, because of the risks of infection.

► 'We found out while we were flying': Last-minute cruise cancellations leave travelers scrambling

► 'The Disney magic is gone' ... or is it?: Longtime fans weigh in on changes at Disney World

'We all suffer from PTSD'

For Concordia survivor Georgia Ananias, the COVID-19 infections are just the latest evidence that passenger safety still isn’t a top priority for the cruise ship industry. Passengers aboard the Concordia were largely left on their own to find life jackets and a functioning lifeboat after the captain steered the ship close too shore in a stunt. He then delayed an evacuation order until it was too late, with lifeboats unable to lower because the ship was listing too heavily.

“I always said this will not define me, but you have no choice," Ananias said in an interview from her home in Los Angeles, Calif. “We all suffer from PTSD. We had a lot of guilt that we survived and 32 other people died.”

Prosecutors blamed the delayed evacuation order and conflicting instructions given by crew for the chaos that ensued as passengers scrambled to get off the ship. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before all the passengers and crew had evacuated.

Ananias and her family declined Costa’s initial $14,500 compensation offered to each passenger and sued Costa, a unit of U.S.-based Carnival Corp., to try to cover the cost of their medical bills and therapy for the post-traumatic stress they have suffered. But after eight years in the U.S. and then Italian court system, they lost their case.

“I think people need to be aware that when you go on a cruise, that if there is a problem, you will not have the justice that you may be used to in the country in which you are living,” said Ananias, who went onto become a top official in the International Cruise Victims association, an advocacy group that lobbies to improve safety aboard ships and increase transparency and accountability in the industry.

Costa didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on the anniversary.

► Royal Caribbean cancels sailings: Pushes back restart on several ships over COVID

'We did something incredible'

Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, stressed in a statement to The Associated Press that passenger and crew safety was the industry's top priority, and that cruising remains one of the safest vacation experiences available.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the victims of the Concordia tragedy and their families on this sad anniversary," CLIA said. It said it has worked over the past 10 years with the International Maritime Organization and the maritime industry to “drive a safety culture that is based on continuous improvement."

For Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli, the memories of that night run the gamut: the horror of seeing the capsized ship, the scramble to coordinate rescue services on shore, the recovery of the first bodies and then the pride that islanders rose to the occasion to tend to the survivors.

► Cruising during COVID-19: Cancellation, refund policies vary by cruise line

Ortelli was later on hand when, in September 2013, the 115,000-ton, 1,000-foot long cruise ship was righted vertical off its seabed graveyard in an extraordinary feat of engineering. But the night of the disaster, a Friday the 13th, remains seared in his memory.

“It was a night that, in addition to being a tragedy, had a beautiful side because the response of the people was a spontaneous gesture that was appreciated around the world,” Ortelli said.

It seemed the natural thing to do at the time. “But then we realized that on that night, in just a few hours, we did something incredible.”

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US lawsuits targeting Carnival in Italian cruise ship disaster facing legal obstacles

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Despite legal obstacles that might force them to sue in Italy, hundreds of Costa Concordia passengers and up to 1,000 businesses on the island where the capsized cruise ship ran aground are pressing ahead with U.S. lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from Miami-based Carnival Corp.

The lawsuits filed in both federal and state courts contend that Carnival is the corporate parent of the Costa brand, which operated the vessel, and is ultimately responsible for any safety violations, negligence or recklessness that may have led to the Jan. 13 accident that claimed 32 lives. Investigators say the ship rammed a reef while passing too close to Giglio Island, off Italy's Tuscan coast.

"Costa Cruise Lines is the alter ego of Carnival," said Edward Ricci, whose lawsuit seeks to represent Giglio Island tourist-related businesses that claim the disaster deterred visitors, polluted environmentally sensitive local waters and depressed property values.

Even though the Costa Crociere subsidiary is based in Genoa, Italy, and the Concordia itself never sailed to a U.S. port, Ricci contends that it and Carnival's other brands all answer to its Miami headquarters. Carnival, he noted, announced a company-wide audit of safety practices after the disaster that is being overseen by Miami-based executives.

"It is from this headquarters that the tragic crash of the Costa Concordia could have been prevented by insisting on better training of officers, safer operation and navigation of ships, and elimination of the reckless practice of 'sail-by salutes,'" Ricci said in court papers, referring to evidence that the Concordia's captain sailed too close to the island on purpose for publicity and to impress passengers.

Similar claims are made in at least four other lawsuits, one of them filed last week that represents 155 passengers from 14 countries, including some U.S. citizens. All together the lawsuits seek tens of millions of dollars in damages from Carnival, which is the world's largest cruise line.

A Carnival spokeswoman said the company would not comment on pending litigation beyond the court filings.

In those court documents, Carnival contends that the Italian Costa line is a separate corporate entity and that any lawsuits should be filed in Italy. Lawyers for Carnival say the company does not own the Concordia and does not manage Costa's day-to-day activities.

"This is an Italian dispute and should be tried in an Italian court," said Thad Dameris, representing Carnival in the case involving Giglio Island businesses. "This case has no real connection to the United States."

Still, the companies are closely intertwined. Costa Crociere is a subsidiary of London-based Carnival plc, which appears on the surface to be separate from the Miami-based Carnival. Yet they share the same top executives and board of directors and "operate as a single economic enterprise," according to Carnival's court filings. And Costa Cruise Lines Inc. is based in Hollywood, Fla., and issued statements after the accident.

Attorneys suing Carnival claim Italian courts often take years longer than their U.S. counterparts to deal with similar lawsuits and that there is no method of bringing a class action in Italy, as the Giglio Island businesses want.

Gabrielle D'Alemberte, who represents five U.S. citizens suing over the Costa Concordia accident, said Italy also does not allow attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis in which the lawyer's fee comes out of any settlement or verdict. She also said damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress are harder to collect.

"This was traumatizing at every level," she said. "That's a cause of action in this country. It's not in Italy."

Carnival, however, contends that everything to do with Costa Crociere, the Concordia disaster and subsequent investigations is much more readily available in Italy, including witnesses, documents and other evidence.

None of the lawsuits is close to going to trial. U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum, a recent appointee of President Barack Obama, will soon decide whether or not to dismiss the Giglio Island businesses lawsuit based on Carnival's claim that it belongs in Italy.

The passenger lawsuits have to deal with one more complication: tickets for the Concordia cruise include what's called a "forum clause," in which the passenger agrees by making the purchase that any legal action would be filed in Italy. The key for their lawyers targeting Carnival in the U.S. would be convincing a judge that Carnival and Costa are identical, and that enforcement of the clause is unreasonable or unfair.

Meanwhile, the ship itself remains lying on its side just off the Italian island. Italian officials say they expect it to be upright and floating again by spring of 2013. A Florida company, Titan Salvage of Pompano Beach, won the bid to handle the work.

In addition, an Italian court on Oct. 15 is scheduled to hold a preliminary hearing on potential charges against those responsible for the shipwreck. Capt. Francisco Schettino has said he was distracted by a cellphone call and that his decision to move the ship into shallower waters likely saved lives.

Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

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carnival cruise italy disaster

Did the Carnival Cruise Ship 'Triumph' Overturn and Sink?

"jokes are created by users." but not necessarily good jokes., published nov 7, 2018.

False

About this rating

On 7 November 2018, a brief article published on the "prank" web site React365 reported that the Carnival cruise ship Triumph had overturned and sunk off the coast of Mexico:

The Carnival cruise ship Triumph ran aground and overturned after striking an underwater rock off the coast of Mexico while coming into port the evening of November 5th 2018 resulting in 32 deaths. There may have been additional people not listed as on board, so the death toll could possibly be higher. The search for bodies was canceled after a small tropical storm came in and resumed the morning of the 6th. Scuba teams are still recovering bodies, stay connected for any new information pertaining to this devastating accident.

carnival cruise italy disaster

This was not a genuine news report, and the included picture did not show the Carnival cruise ship Triumph sinking off the coast of Mexico in November 2018.

This photograph depicts the Costa Concordia , a luxury cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, Italy, in January 2012. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 32 people:

On January 13, 2012 the Italian cruise ship, which was carrying 4,200 people, collided with rocks just off the coast of the Mediterranean island, Giglio. The impact tore a 230-foot gash into the ship's hull, eventually making it capsize. Thirty-two people died in the disaster, while the others were successfully evacuated. On February 11, 2015, the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, was sentenced to a prison term of 16 years and one month for, among other things, negligent homicide.

Carnival's website for their Triumph cruise ship does not show anything out of the ordinary. It lists no reports about an alleged sinking, and potential customers can still book trips on the cruise ship.

React 365 is a "prank" web site that provides users with a template to create their own fake news stories in order to trick their friends on social media. A disclaimer at the bottom of the site reads: "This website is an entertainment website, jokes are created by users. These are humorous jokes, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or as a source of information."

Boesalager, Matern.   "Ship to Wreck: Grim, Beautiful Photos of the Costa Concordia."     Vice .   29 January 2016.

Fox News .   "Court Hears How 32 Died in Costa Concordia Shipwreck."     17 July 2013.

By Dan Evon

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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A Photo History Of Carnival Cruise Ship Disasters

Problems started early for carnival: the tss mardi gras, its first cruise ship, ran aground on a sandbar during its inaugural voyage, in 1972..

Problems started early for Carnival: The TSS Mardi Gras, its first cruise ship, ran aground on a sandbar during its inaugural voyage, in 1972.

Everything was fine until July 1998, when a fire started in the main laundry room of the Ecstasy, soon after the ship left Miami.

Everything was fine until July 1998, when a fire started in the main laundry room of the Ecstasy, soon after the ship left Miami.

A fleet of tugboats fought the fire and pulled the ship to shore, but not before 8 passengers and 14 crew members were injured.

A fleet of tugboats fought the fire and pulled the ship to shore, but not before 8 passengers and 14 crew members were injured.

Repairs cost $17 million.

Repairs cost $17 million.

[Source: NTSB ]

A little more than a year later, a fire started in the engine room of the Tropicale (later renamed Ocean Dream). The ship was left stranded in the path of Tropical Storm Harvey, but no one was injured.

A little more than a year later, a fire started in the engine room of the Tropicale (later renamed Ocean Dream). The ship was left stranded in the path of Tropical Storm Harvey, but no one was injured.

In November 2010, the Carnival Splendor lost power after an engine room fire, and was towed to shore by tugboats.

In November 2010, the Carnival Splendor lost power after an engine room fire, and was towed to shore by tugboats.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan brought supplies, including Spam and Pop-Tarts, when food supplies on board ran low.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan brought supplies, including Spam and Pop-Tarts, when food supplies on board ran low.

[Source: CNN ]

The ship finally reached shore three days after the fire.

The ship finally reached shore three days after the fire.

After spending three days without air conditioning and hot water, passengers finally escaped the ship.

After spending three days without air conditioning and hot water, passengers finally escaped the ship.

Carnival's most serious problem came in January 2012. The Costa Concordia, operated by a Carnival subsidiary, ran aground off the coast of Italy and partially sunk.

Carnival's most serious problem came in January 2012. The Costa Concordia, operated by a Carnival subsidiary, ran aground off the coast of Italy and partially sunk.

32 people died.

32 people died.

In a show of sympathy, the flags at the Carnival headquarters in Doral, Florida were flown at half-mast.

In a show of sympathy, the flags at the Carnival headquarters in Doral, Florida were flown at half-mast.

Last month, Italian prosecutors officially sought to indict Captain Francesco Schettino on manslaughter charges.

Last month, Italian prosecutors officially sought to indict Captain Francesco Schettino on manslaughter charges.

[Source: The Guardian ]

The wrecked Costa Concordia is still sitting half-submerged in Italy. An incredibly complex, $400 million operation to remove it should be complete by next summer.

The wrecked Costa Concordia is still sitting half-submerged in Italy. An incredibly complex, $400 million operation to remove it should be complete by next summer.

In February 2013, an engine room fire led to a power loss on the Carnival Triumph, stranding the ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

In February 2013, an engine room fire led to a power loss on the Carnival Triumph, stranding the ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

It took five days to tow the enormous vessel back to port, and its passengers were stuck on a ship with few working toilets and no power.

It took five days to tow the enormous vessel back to port, and its passengers were stuck on a ship with few working toilets and no power.

Some of the 4,229 passengers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Carnival, but because they signed waivers, they likely won't win.

Some of the 4,229 passengers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Carnival, but because they signed waivers, they likely won't win.

In March, the problems continued for Carnival: The diesel generator in the Dream malfunctioned while the ship was at port in St Maarten.

In March, the problems continued for Carnival: The diesel generator in the Dream malfunctioned while the ship was at port in St Maarten.

Passengers were flown home, and will receive a refund equal to the equivalent of three days of the trip, plus half-off on a future cruise.

Passengers were flown home, and will receive a refund equal to the equivalent of three days of the trip, plus half-off on a future cruise.

Just a week later, the Carnival Legend had a technical issue with its sailing speed, and was sent back to its destination in Tampa, canceling a scheduled stop. Passengers received a $100 credit.

Just a week later, the Carnival Legend had a technical issue with its sailing speed, and was sent back to its destination in Tampa, canceling a scheduled stop. Passengers received a $100 credit.

The recent string of incidents has hurt Carnival's bottom line, but not seriously: Its quarterly earnings and revenue beat market expectations.

The recent string of incidents has hurt Carnival's bottom line, but not seriously: Its quarterly earnings and revenue beat market expectations.

Now see how another company has faced disaster.

Now see how another company has faced disaster.

DON'T MISS: How America's Coolest Automaker Crashed So Hard, So Fast >

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carnival cruise italy disaster

Even though the Costa Crociere subsidiary is based in Genoa, Italy, and the Concordia itself never sailed to a U.S. port, Ricci contends that it and Carnival's other brands all answer to its Miami headquarters. Carnival, he noted, announced a company-wide audit of safety practices after the disaster that is being overseen by Miami-based executives.

"It is from this headquarters that the tragic crash of the Costa Concordia could have been prevented by insisting on better training of officers, safer operation and navigation of ships, and elimination of the reckless practice of 'sail-by salutes,'" Ricci said in court papers, referring to evidence that the Concordia's captain sailed too close to the island on purpose for publicity and to impress passengers.

Similar claims are made in at least four other lawsuits, one of them filed last week that represents 155 passengers from 14 countries, including some U.S. citizens. All together the lawsuits seek tens of millions of dollars in damages from Carnival, which is the world's largest cruise line.

A Carnival spokeswoman said the company would not comment on pending litigation beyond the court filings.

In those court documents, Carnival contends that the Italian Costa line is a separate corporate entity and that any lawsuits should be filed in Italy. Lawyers for Carnival say the company does not own the Concordia and does not manage Costa's day-to-day activities.

"This is an Italian dispute and should be tried in an Italian court," said Thad Dameris, representing Carnival in the case involving Giglio Island businesses. "This case has no real connection to the United States."

Still, the companies are closely intertwined. Costa Crociere is a subsidiary of London-based Carnival plc, which appears on the surface to be separate from the Miami-based Carnival. Yet they share the same top executives and board of directors and "operate as a single economic enterprise," according to Carnival's court filings. And Costa Cruise Lines Inc. is based in Hollywood, Fla., and issued statements after the accident.

Attorneys suing Carnival claim Italian courts often take years longer than their U.S. counterparts to deal with similar lawsuits and that there is no method of bringing a class action in Italy, as the Giglio Island businesses want.

Gabrielle D'Alemberte, who represents five U.S. citizens suing over the Costa Concordia accident, said Italy also does not allow attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis in which the lawyer's fee comes out of any settlement or verdict. She also said damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress are harder to collect.

"This was traumatizing at every level," she said. "That's a cause of action in this country. It's not in Italy."

Carnival, however, contends that everything to do with Costa Crociere, the Concordia disaster and subsequent investigations is much more readily available in Italy, including witnesses, documents and other evidence.

None of the lawsuits is close to going to trial. U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum, a recent appointee of President Barack Obama, will soon decide whether or not to dismiss the Giglio Island businesses lawsuit based on Carnival's claim that it belongs in Italy.

The passenger lawsuits have to deal with one more complication: tickets for the Concordia cruise include what's called a "forum clause," in which the passenger agrees by making the purchase that any legal action would be filed in Italy. The key for their lawyers targeting Carnival in the U.S. would be convincing a judge that Carnival and Costa are identical, and that enforcement of the clause is unreasonable or unfair.

Meanwhile, the ship itself remains lying on its side just off the Italian island. Italian officials say they expect it to be upright and floating again by spring of 2013. A Florida company, Titan Salvage of Pompano Beach, won the bid to handle the work.

In addition, an Italian court on Oct. 15 is scheduled to hold a preliminary hearing on potential charges against those responsible for the shipwreck. Capt. Francesco Schettino has said he was distracted by a cellphone call and that his decision to move the ship into shallower waters likely saved lives.

Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

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Oversight of Cruise Lines at Issue After Disaster

carnival cruise italy disaster

By Steven Erlanger

  • Jan. 16, 2012

PARIS — As the world was transfixed by the Titanic-like imagery of the partly submerged Costa Concordia and the frantic efforts to save the fuel-laden vessel in rough seas off the Tuscany coast, questions swirled on Monday about the enormous cruise line industry, which operates without much regulation.

The ship’s detained captain, Francesco Schettino, was accused by his bosses of deviating from a fixed, computerized course to show off his beautiful $563 million boat, carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew members, to the people of Giglio Island on a still Friday night, crashing it on a reef.

But as shares in the ship’s parent company — Carnival Corporation of Miami, the world’s biggest cruise line operator — slid by nearly a fifth and the owners and insurers tried to add up the cost of the disaster, there were more troubling issues raised about how the cruise industry is supervised and controlled.

Those issues included how much safety information and training are required for the crew and passengers, and how much discretion a captain has to alter routes, especially in an age when electronic radar, charts, GPS and other guidance systems are supposed to keep these large, sleek ships on course.

“There are legitimate questions as these vessels have substantially evolved in recent years,” said Helen Kearns, a spokeswoman for Siim Kallas, the European Union transportation commissioner. “The boats have gotten a lot bigger, as it’s economically advantageous to have more passengers,” she said. “But the way these vessels have grown in size does mean finding the right balance to make sure regulations are stringent enough to ensure there are procedures like safe evacuations.”

More than 72 hours after the accident killed at least six people, confusion still reigned over how many were missing. Italy’s coast guard abruptly raised the total to 29 late Monday after having said 16, including 2 Americans, remained unaccounted for. Worries also grew that the ship’s half-million gallons of fuel could leak into a marine wildlife sanctuary.

While airline pilots are directed and guided by controllers on the ground, sea captains are considered to be in complete control. “It’s not like the aircraft industry, where you file a flight plan,” said Peter Wild, a cruise industry consultant at G. P. Wild (International) Limited, a consultancy outside London. Rather, at most cruise lines, company directors determine the routes, which are then transmitted to the captain and a navigating officer, who scrutinize the charted course but are meant to follow it.

Captain Schettino’s boss, Pier Luigi Foschi, insisted that a safe route had been programmed into the navigating computers and that alarms would have sounded for any deviation. “This route was put in correctly,” said Mr. Foschi, who is chairman of Costa Crociere S.p.A.

“The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a maneuver by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorized and unknown to Costa,” he said at an emotional press conference in Genoa. “He wanted to show the ship, to go nearby this island of Giglio, so he decided to change the course of the ship,” Mr. Foschi said, admitting that the ship had done a similar but approved maneuver last summer for a festival.

The captain, who may face criminal charges of manslaughter, failure to offer assistance and abandonment of the ship, had said he struck an uncharted rock.

But an Italian prosecutor, Francesco Verusio, had harsh words on Monday. “We are struck by the unscrupulousness of the reckless maneuver that the commander of the Costa Concordia made near the island of Giglio,” he told reporters. “It was inexcusable.”

For many years, the global cruise line industry has operated under a loosely defined system that tends to escape scrutiny by courts and regulators. Cruise line instances of crime, pollution and safety and health violations have often gone unpoliced because no single authority is in charge.

A United Nations agency, the International Maritime Organization, oversees maritime safety through international conventions, including one for the Safety of Life at Sea, known as Solas, adopted in 1914, which grew out of the global anger that stemmed from the loss of the Titanic in 1912. But the agency has no policing powers.

Ships themselves are certified and inspected by independent classification societies, like Lloyd’s Register Group and the Italian RINA S.p.A., Mr. Wild said, that perform annual checks of ship safety conditions, lifeboats and the like. They approve vital components like fire protection, navigation, radio communication equipment, deck gear, cables and anchors.

While electronic systems are standard on ships like the Costa Concordia, all ships are also required to carry paper charts, said Angus Menzies, a retired British Navy commodore who is now chief executive of the Honorable Company of Master Mariners, a professional association in London for qualified sea captains.

“But I’d suspect that on a modern cruise liner like that he’d be using electronic charts,” Mr. Menzies said. To hit an uncharted rock “nowadays that’s unlikely, but it’s possible,” he said. “The other possibility is that they were just a shower of turkeys — incompetent — on the bridge.”

But the captain is king on his ship, Mr. Menzies said. “The man on the bridge decides everything.”

Michael Bruno, dean of the engineering school at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., and chairman of the Marine Board of the National Research Council, said that if there were obstacles on the charts, electronic or paper, the crew should have seen them. “There are probably many people in the field who would say that you don’t need an electronic chart to tell you you’re close to rocks,” he said.

“One of the things to keep in mind is the accuracy of all of these systems,” Mr. Bruno added. Even with GPS, he said, “accuracy is measured in yards, sometimes tens of feet. The difference between hitting a submerged obstacle and not hitting it can sometimes be a matter of feet.”

Cruise Ship Runs Aground in Italy

View Slide Show ›

Questions also loomed about why the Costa Concordia listed so badly after the crash, as the captain tried to bring it closer to the island. Modern ships are built to sink levelly, Mr. Menzies said, by the use of bulkhead doors and pumps that are supposed to be able to be operated remotely. “The worst-case scenario is trying to get non-seafarers off a ship that is capsizing.”

That was certainly the case on board the Costa Concordia Friday night. Passengers described delays and confusion, with unclear instructions and inexperienced crew members. Emily Lau, 27, and her husband, Benji Smith, 34, an American honeymoon couple on board, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “it was every man for himself,” Ms. Lau said. “The main thing is no one knew how to help because they were never trained. That is the cruise ship’s fault.”

Cruise passengers are supposed to attend a safety briefing within 24 hours of boarding. “We have never had any drills,” Ms. Lau said. “We were asked to go for a safety meeting, and it was nothing but a sales pitch for excursions.”

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The accident and the constantly televised images of the elegant ship lying grotesquely will hurt the cruise industry at a crucial period, when global economic uncertainty is rampant and summer bookings are at a peak, analysts said. Carnival and other companies had already dropped prices in the face of weaker demand, especially in Europe, which provides 40 percent of its business. About one-third of all cruise bookings are made in the wintry first quarter of the year.

Investors jettisoned the stocks of cruise operators on Monday. Shares of Carnival, which trades in London, dropped about 17 percent, the most in a decade. (United States markets were closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.)

The company estimated the financial impact of the disaster to be as much as $95 million, with the ship out of service for the rest of 2012. But the impact is bound to be much more, said James Rollo, a leisure-industry analyst at Morgan Stanley, who said that the Costa subsidiary is 17 percent of Carnival’s capacity.

“Cruising is a safer way to travel than air, but the investigation may take time, the story is getting global publicity, and people are unlikely to book until confidence returns,” Mr. Rollo said.

Insurers, too, are expected to take a short-term hit. Nick Johnson, an analyst at Numis, a London research firm, estimated total insurance losses of at least $600 million. In a note to clients, he forecast stricter risk assessments because of what he called “the psychological impact of seeing the unthinkable happen.”

Because of an editing error, an article on Tuesday about the Costa Concordia, the luxury cruise liner that ran aground late Friday off the Tuscany coast, misstated, in some copies, the amount of fuel it was carrying. It was half a million gallons, not half a billion.

An article last Tuesday about the Costa Concordia shipwreck in Italy misstated the vessel’s value when it went into service in 2006. It was 450 million euros or about $563 million — not $450 million. The error was repeated on Wednesday in two articles about the shipwreck and in articles on Thursday and Friday.

How we handle corrections

Reporting was contributed by Gaia Pianigiani from Giglio, Italy; David Jolly, Scott Sayare and Maïa de la Baume from Paris; James Kanter from Brussels; Alan Cowell and Julia Werdigier from London; and Henry Fountain, Peter Lattman and Rick Gladstone from New York.

Come Sail Away

Love them or hate them, cruises can provide a unique perspective on travel..

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Th ree-Year Cruise, Unraveled:  The Life at Sea cruise was supposed to be the ultimate bucket-list experience : 382 port calls over 1,095 days. Here’s why  those who signed up are seeking fraud charges  instead.

TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’:  People on social media have turned the unwitting passengers of a nine-month world cruise  into  “cast members”  overnight.

Dipping Their Toes: Younger generations of travelers are venturing onto ships for the first time . Many are saving money.

A Candy-Colored Cruise Ship: Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas has become an object of fascination and scorn on social media. Some can’t wait to board. Others call it a “monstrosity.”

Cult Cruisers: These devoted cruise fanatics, most of them retirees, have one main goal: to almost never touch dry land .

Carnival passengers recount ‘nightmare’ cruise as storm floods ship

Videos showed the carnival sunshine cabins and hallways flooding and ceilings leaking.

Matthew Branham and his fiancée, Madison Davis, were lying by a Carnival Sunshine pool on Friday aboard a cruise returning to Charleston, S.C., from the Bahamas when an announcement came over the loudspeaker. The captain was expecting rougher weather that evening, but there was nothing to worry about. So Branham and Davis didn’t worry.

As the day went on, “We noticed it started getting cooler in the afternoon — much, much cooler,” said Branham, 25, of Castlewood, Va. “And then it was like a switch was flipped, and it literally turned into a nightmare.”

En route back to Charleston Friday night into Saturday, the Carnival Sunshine navigated into a strong storm system that battered the southeast over the holiday weekend. Videos emerged on social media showing cabins and hallways flooding, shop floors littered with destroyed merchandise and leaking ceilings . Passenger Brad Morrell snapped a photo of an automated instrument map reporting a 69 knot, or 79 mph, wind.

#CarnivalSunshine : Due to return to Charleston, South Carolina this Saturday, May 27, 2023, has been delayed due to severe weather. The ship is currently off the South Carolina coast and holding position, unable to return to the port because of high winds & rough seas. #cruise 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/2B6HlAn2yD — ∼Marietta (@MariettaDaviz) May 28, 2023

Carnival said in a statement that the weather was unexpectedly strong, causing conditions that were rougher than forecast, but that its fleet operations center team, which relies on outside meteorology resources for itinerary planning, “coordinated to keep the ship in its safest location.”

“Attempting to sail out of the large front could have been dangerous,” the statement continued. “The ship proceeded to the port as soon as the weather began to clear.”

Strong Southeast storm slams Carolinas

Carnival said the captain made “several announcements about the weather and the delay it caused in returning to Charleston, asking guests to use extra precaution while walking around the ship.” Additionally, “some of the worst weather occurred in the overnight hours when announcements are not typically made, but guests and crew were safe.”

The ship’s medical staff did help a “small number” of guests and crew members who needed minor assistance following the storm. Despite the significant damage and a delay in schedule, Carnival Sunshine embarked on its next five-day Bahama sailing on Saturday.

From their sea-view room, Branham and Davis watched as waves surged over their window and braced themselves as the 892-foot-long ship lurched in the storm.

“Waves were hitting the boat so hard that it was like an earthquake experience, jarring you like a really rough roller coaster — even in the middle floor,” Branham said.

They were told to stay in their cabins. Meanwhile, Branham said, TVs were falling off walls, and glassware was sliding off shelves and shattering on the floor. “You could not stand up in your room,” he said. “You could be thrown from the bed.”

They packed up their belongings when their floor started to flood and took shelter in a main lobby area.

“All of the employees were sprinting downstairs with life vests,” Branham said. “There were little kids besides us screaming and crying and throwing fits.”

Throughout the storm, Branham wondered why there weren’t more announcements from Carnival staff. Besides the warning of rougher seas earlier Friday and one Saturday morning after they’d weathered the storm, Branham said they weren’t given any official updates on their situation. When he asked workers what was going on, they told him not to worry.

⁦⁦ @CarnivalCruise ⁩ #carnivalsunshine still 75mph winds at 9:25am. Sitting and spinning in the Atlantic. pic.twitter.com/NITCO2l9Ss — FlyersCaptain™®© (@flyerscaptain) May 29, 2023

“But you see rooms flooded, and you can pick up a handful of sand and you’re kind of like, ‘What in the world? Why is nobody telling us anything?’” Branham said.

Jim Walker, a maritime lawyer and cruise industry legal expert, says his firm has been contacted by some Carnival Sunshine passengers who were injured during the storm, including a man who says he was struck by a door and broke his foot. Others have asked him about the potential for a class-action lawsuit.

While Walker said passengers should make their complaints known to Carnival, he doesn’t believe filing a lawsuit would be an efficient next step. Instead, impacted passengers can ask Carnival for a refund or a credit for another cruise, although there’s no guarantee the cruise line will grant such requests.

Pete Peterson, owner of Storybook Cruises , which is affiliated with Cruise Planners, said cruise ships keep a close eye on weather developments and will adjust their itinerary depending on the severity of the storm.

“Cruise lines monitor the weather all the time. They’re not going to put their passengers in harm’s way,” said Peterson, who has been a cruise adviser for more than 20 years and has sailed on nearly 60 cruises. “Obviously, some cruise lines are better at doing this than others.”

In 2016, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas returned to port after cruising into a “bomb cyclone,” which damaged the ship amid winds gusting to 100 mph. The ship sailed into the remnants of Hurricane Hermine seven months later, causing additional problems.

To ensure the safety and comfort of its passengers, a cruise ship can alter its course and circumvent the rough weather system. In stormy conditions, the crew can deploy the stabilizers, which will prevent the ship from rolling and bucking.

“You don’t experience the up and down,” Peterson said. “It’s not as rough a ride.”

Both approaches can add to a cruise line’s expenditures, Peterson said. Stabilizers slow the vessel, thereby consuming more fuel. Sailing around the storm can take longer than the original route and disrupt the company’s cruise schedule, leading to delays or cancellations. The cruise line may have to reimburse passengers or provide them with future credits because of the inconvenience.

“When they do something like that, it’s going to cost them money,” Peterson said.

Craig Setzer , a meteorologist and hurricane preparedness specialist, said that even with the hurricane-like conditions and flooding, “I would never be in doubt of the vessel’s integrity,” he said. “Cruise ships are structurally very, very sound and can survive a lot. They’re really rugged.”

Matthew Cappucci contributed to this report.

More cruise news

Living at sea: Travelers on a 9-month world cruise are going viral on social media. For some travelers, not even nine months was enough time on a ship; they sold cars, moved out of their homes and prepared to set sail for three years . That plan fell apart, but a 3.5-year version is waiting in the wings.

Passengers beware: It’s not all buffets and dance contests. Crime data reported by cruise lines show that the number of sex crimes has increased compared to previous years. And though man-overboard cases are rare, they are usually deadly .

The more you know: If you’re cruise-curious, here are six tips from a newcomer. Remember that in most cases, extra fees and add-ons will increase the seemingly cheap price of a sailing. And if you happen to get sick , know what to expect on board.

carnival cruise italy disaster

TipRanks

Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE:CCL) Modifies Red Sea Cruises

T he ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which in several ways may be expanding if it hasn’t really already done so, is fundamentally shifting the way a lot of businesses operate in that area. Carnival Cruise Lines ( NYSE:CCL ) has cruises going out to the Red Sea, reports note, and they’ve modified the itineraries accordingly. The changes will impact 12 different ships over seven different brands, all of which were originally scheduled to go through the Red Sea between now and May 2024.

The biggest risk to cruise ships in that area would seem to come from the Houthi rebels in Iran, who have already been seen firing on cargo ships in that area. So, Carnival is doing the responsible thing and bypassing the area altogether.

Fighting for Customers Through Disasters

Things haven’t exactly been going well for Carnival these days, but it’s trying to pull things out nonetheless. A cruise to the Bahamas, for example, proved terrible for many passengers who came down with an unexpected illness aboard the ship. Food poisoning and norovirus were both mentioned in connection with the incidents, which isn’t a disaster for Carnival but might have some negative impact. However, Carnival also announced that a longtime favorite food item will be returning, as cruises will bring back Beef Wellington on dinner services. Carnival may have some troubles from time to time, but its responsiveness to customers certainly can’t hurt.

What Is the prediction for Carnival Stock?

Turning to Wall Street, analysts have a Moderate Buy consensus rating on CCL stock based on 10 Buys, two Holds, and one Sell assigned in the past three months, as indicated by the graphic below. After a 52.5% rally in its share price over the past year, the average CCL price target of $21.12 per share implies 28.04% upside potential.

https://www.tipranks.com/news/carnival-cruise-lines-nyseccl-slips-on-red-sea-plans

Watch CBS News

Carnival cruise ship battered by waves in storm off Charleston

By Aliza Chasan

Updated on: May 29, 2023 / 4:16 PM EDT / CBS News

A storm off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, battered a Carnival cruise ship for hours late Friday night before it docked, leaving passengers terrified.

Passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine described shattered glass, water pouring into rooms and hallways, the ship pitching about and a lack of communication from cruise staff. Some passengers and crew members needed "minor assistance" from medical staff, a Carnival cruise spokesman told CBS News. "Guests on board the ship were safe," the spokesman added. 

Carnival Sunshine, which was headed from the Bahamas to South Carolina, arrived in Charleston behind schedule, according to the spokesman. Some crew cabins needed to be temporarily taken out of service because of water damage. The ship's next voyage, on which it has since embarked, was also delayed.

The National Hurricane Center on Friday warned of a non-tropical area of low pressure off Florida that was set to move northward and inland over the Carolinas during the weekend. Forecasters said there would be gusty winds, dangerous surf and rip current conditions along portions of the U.S.'s southeastern coast through Sunday.

The Carnival Sunshine cruise ship seen during stormy weather and rough seas on a trip from the Bahamas to Charleston.

Passenger Sharon Tutrone, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, tweeted Friday that the ship was rocking. She said that the only time passengers heard from the captain was in the afternoon, when he told them he had an experienced crew and would do everything he could to minimize discomfort as the ship encountered the storm. 

"They said it will get worse as we get closer to the storm," she tweeted. "@CarnivalCruise  is doing an EXCELLENT job!"

She tweeted again on Saturday afternoon, describing " 14 hours of high winds, rain and massive waves ." 

"We were surrounded by lightning and the ship took a huge hit by a wave and sounded like it split in two," Tutrone tweeted.

Several passengers, including Brenda Goodwin Sherbert, posted on social media about broken glass on the ship . They also wrote about water coming in through balcony doors.

"We had a 40 foot wave hit our side of the ship,.. we almost fell out the bed.. things were crashing all around us and the carpet on my side of the bed was soaked bc water came in thru our balcony door," Goodwin Sherbert wrote.

Passenger Reid Overcash, who was on the cruise with his wife, said televisions on the ship displayed a message during the storm: "Public address announcement please standby." 

He said it was when winds had reached between 70-90 mph and the ship was tilting left that he truly feared for his life.

"Myself being in emergency services and retired, I knew nobody was going to come and rescue us with winds over 40 knots," Overcash said.

The trip marked Overcash's seventh cruise. He said he's not going to let the frightening experience stop him from going on more cruises in the future. 

"It's just one of them unlucky experiences that occurs once in a while," he said.

  • South Carolina
  • Cruise Ship

Aliza Chasan is a digital producer at 60 Minutes and CBSNews.com. She has previously written for outlets including PIX11 News, The New York Daily News, Inside Edition and DNAinfo. Aliza covers trending news, often focusing on crime and politics.

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IMAGES

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  2. Carnival shares plunge after Italian cruise ship disaster

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  3. Italy’s Cruise Ship Disaster Has Highlighted the Threat the Ships Pose

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  5. Carnival passengers left terrified as cruise ship sails into violent storm l VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. Costa Concordia disaster

    On 13 January 2012, the seven-year-old Costa Cruises vessel Costa Concordia was on the first leg of a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea when she deviated from her planned route at Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, sailed closer to the island, and struck a rock formation on the sea floor.

  2. Costa Concordia disaster

    Costa Concordia disaster, the capsizing of an Italian cruise ship on January 13, 2012, after it struck rocks off the coast of Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. More than 4,200 people were rescued, though 32 people died in the disaster. Several of the ship's crew, notably Capt. Francesco Schettino, were charged with various crimes.

  3. How the Wreck of a Cruise Liner Changed an Italian Island

    GIGLIO PORTO, Italy — The curvy granite rocks of the Tuscan island of Giglio lay bare in the winter sun, no longer hidden by the ominous, stricken cruise liner that ran aground in the turquoise ...

  4. The Costa Concordia Disaster: How Human Error Made It Worse

    In its investigative report on the 2012 disaster, Italy's Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports found that the Concordia "was sailing too close to the coastline, in a poorly lit shore...

  5. Italian ship disaster to cost Carnival $95m

    Carnival, the owner of the Costa Concordia which sank off the coast of Italy this weekend, has estimated it will lose at least $85m from the disaster, the FT says. London shares in Carnival, which ...

  6. US lawsuits targeting Carnival in Italian cruise ship disaster facing

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Despite legal obstacles that might force them to sue in Italy, hundreds of Costa Concordia passengers and up to 1,000 businesses on the island where the capsized cruise ship ran aground are pressing ahead with U.S. lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from Miami-based Carnival Corp.

  7. 10 years later, Costa Concordia disaster haunts survivors

    Jan. 12, 2022 2 PM PT GIGLIO, Italy — Ten years have passed since the Costa Concordia cruise ship slammed into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio. But for the passengers on...

  8. Costa Concordia: Italy marks ten years since cruise ship disaster

    Italy will mark the 10th anniversary of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster on Thursday with a daylong commemoration. Thirty-two people died when the ship slammed into a reef and...

  9. US lawsuits targeting Carnival in Italian cruise ship disaster facing

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Despite legal obstacles that might force them to sue in Italy, hundreds of Costa Concordia passengers and up to 1,000 businesses on the island where the capsized cruise ship ran aground are pressing ahead with U.S. lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages from Miami-based Carnival Corp.

  10. Ten years on, survivors haunted by Italy cruise ship disaster

    Ten years on, survivors haunted by Italy cruise ship disaster Rome (AFP) - On the evening of January 13, 2012, Umberto Trotti heard the terrified cries of his wife and baby in the lifeboat...

  11. Survivor recounts Costa Concordia cruise capsizing 10 years later

    1:35 GIGLIO, Italy — Ten years have passed since the Costa Concordia cruise ship slammed into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio. But for the passengers on board and the...

  12. US lawsuits targeting Carnival in Italian cruise ship disaster ...

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Despite legal obstacles that might force them to sue in Italy, hundreds of Costa Concordia passengers and up to 1,000 businesses on the island where the capsized cruise ...

  13. Concordia Cruise Disaster

    Nov 3, 2014 Costa Concordia completes its final voyage Tragic cruise liner eased into Genoa's port, where it will be scrapped after search for missing Indian waiter, the only body of 32 victims...

  14. Did the Carnival Cruise Ship 'Triumph' Overturn and Sink?

    The disaster resulted in the deaths of 32 people: On January 13, 2012 the Italian cruise ship, which was carrying 4,200 people, collided with rocks just off the coast of the Mediterranean...

  15. A Photo History Of Carnival Cruise Ship Disasters

    32 people died. In a show of sympathy, the flags at the Carnival headquarters in Doral, Florida were flown at half-mast. Advertisement Last month, Italian prosecutors officially sought to indict...

  16. US lawsuits target Carnival in Italy cruise crash

    "Costa Cruise Lines is the alter ego of Carnival," said Edward Ricci, whose lawsuit seeks to represent Giglio Island tourist-related businesses that claim the disaster deterred visitors, polluted ...

  17. Captain of Ship That Capsized Off Italy in '12 Is Convicted

    In September 2013, engineers in Giglio, Italy, worked all day to pull up the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which struck a reef and keeled over, killing 32 people on Jan. 13, 2012. Credit Credit...

  18. Oversight of Cruise Lines at Issue After Disaster

    Jan. 18, 2012. : Because of an editing error, an article on Tuesday about the Costa Concordia, the luxury cruise liner that ran aground late Friday off the Tuscany coast, misstated, in some copies ...

  19. Carnival Sunshine passengers recount 'nightmare' cruise as ship floods

    Videos showed the Carnival Sunshine cabins and hallways flooding and ceilings leaking. By Natalie B. Compton. and. Andrea Sachs. May 30, 2023 at 4:40 p.m. EDT. Videos showed high waves and large ...

  20. Cruise ship Carnival Sunshine battered by rough weather

    CNN —. Cruise ship Carnival Sunshine was rocked by a storm over the weekend, frightening passengers and delaying the ship's return to port in Charleston, South Carolina, and the departure of ...

  21. Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE:CCL) Modifies Red Sea Cruises

    Carnival Cruise Lines has cruises going out to the Red Sea, reports note, and they've modified the itineraries accordingly. The changes will impact 12 different ships over seven different brands ...

  22. Carnival cruise ship battered by waves in storm off Charleston

    Updated on: May 29, 2023 / 4:16 PM EDT / CBS News. A storm off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, battered a Carnival cruise ship for hours late Friday night before it docked, leaving ...