Monday, February 27, 2012

Now the Costa Allegra goes bang

'An Italian cruise ship with more than 1,000 people on board is without power in the Indian Ocean following a fire'.

Costa do seem to have their problems, don't they - whoooops!

How long until we hear that Costa's name is going to be removed from all of their ships, I wonder? And who nowadays (apart from Italians) will trust Costa with their lives and book new cruises with them?

The Costa brand is almost as 'dead in the water' as the Costal Allegra, I'd bet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Captain not solely to blame, says prosecutor

From the web site:

According to today's Telegraph, the chief prosecutor in charge of the inquiry has implored investigators to look beyond the behaviour of the captain to the role played by the liner's owners, Costa Cruises.

His comments were published as salvage experts began the difficult task of removing around 2,400 tonnes of fuel from the vessel.

Beniamino Deidda, the prosecutor, said in an interview carried by several Italian newspapers today: "For the moment, attention is generally concentrated on the responsibility of the captain, who showed himself to be tragically inadequate. But who chooses the captain?"

He said investigators needed to avert their gaze to the decisions taken by "the employer; that is to say, the ship's owner".

Deidda, who has spent a large part of his career dealing with health and safety cases, said numerous other issues needed to be addressed.

He specifically mentioned "lifeboats that did not come down, crew who did not know what to do [and] scant preparation in crisis management".

He added that it was "absurd" that in at least one instance, recorded on video after the Costa Concordia was holed, a member of the crew should have told passengers to return to their cabins.

Schettino has also maintained that his employers have a shared responsibility for what happened. Among the questions the inquiry is seeking to answer is why more than an hour elapsed between impact and the order to abandon ship.

Questioned by prosecutors last week, the captain said that he was in frequent contact with a representative of the company during that period.

Schettino and his first officer are the sole formal suspects in the inquiry, which is looking at whether to bring charges of manslaughter and the illegal abandoning of a ship.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Costa's 'previous'

Does this sound familiar, following reports of the collapse of discipline and seeming absence of leadership during the Concordia disaster?

My eyes fastened on the bit about, 'only young Costa staff doing their best'.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Worse and worse

The dreadful Costa Concordia disaster has reminded me all over again of the weaknesses in leadership at all levels that we witnessed on Costa Europa. The captain and senior officers let us all down by simply dreadful communications and the Costa Head Office seemingly saw no reason to override them on our behalf.

Even today, if you Google 'Costa Europa' you can find a link to our ruined cruise - see: But, more interestingly, there's a link to a story about an incident in Sharm-el-Sheikh two years ago where the Costa Europa crashed into the dock resulting in the deaths of THREE crew members. See:

And even more interestingly from the point of view of disaffected passengers on our ''Jewels of the Indian Ocean' cruise, it seems that Costa in general has a lot of 'previous' - see:

After the Sharm incident Costa offloaded the Europa to Thomson. Remember, we're talking about a pretty much clapped out tub with dodgy engines, poor management and seemingly disaffected lower level staff. A poisoned chalice, you might think. But, no! In's latest Passenger Ratings Survey, published last week, the Thomson Dream came TOP in two of the eight categories, i.e. Best Service and Best Entertainment.

So, if Thomson can turn around such an apparent basket case it really does ask still more questions about the whole Costa organisation.

What has struck me during the appalling Concordia tragedy was a passenger talking glowingly about the precision of the lifeboat drill at the start of the cruise. I've come to really dislike the way that the Italians manage this event - MSC are just as bad, in my view. You're treated like naughty children, forced to line up on deck and stand in silence for 15 minutes in neat straight rank and file and generally treated with little respect.

All other cruise lines that I've sailed with put more effort into explaining the whats and whys without dragging you out on deck and putting you on parade. On Celebrity Equinox last November our muster station was the main restaurant, where we were sat comfortably and were shown a safety film.

The Concordia incident shows that Costa seem to have put all of their effort into pointlessly drilling their passengers but little or none into training their crew and officers - it's all seeming and no substance. There have been reports of crew racing passengers to the lifeboats and the remaining crew not knowing how to launch them.

The purser who was rescued after 36 hours with a broken leg has justifiably been feted as a hero, having become trapped below decks while trying to rescue passengers, probably because he was an honorable exception - the captain himself has been reported as having left the ship before midnight whilst the rescuing of passengers went on until 3am.

And now Costa are hanging their captain out to dry, blaming him but also saying they'll support him. Talk about riding two horses at once.
'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark', wrote Shakespeare. It's SO tempting to paraphrase this, isn't it?