News about the Costa Concordia cruise ship has been regularly making the rounds since the vessel’s ill-omened grounding near the Island of Giglio, in the sea of Tyrrhenian in Italy. But there’s more to the Costa Concordia passenger ship than its unprecedented accident. Features which made the ship, a singular entity not just for its owners and operators, but also for the whole-wide cornucopia of cruising patrons out there, spread across the world.
Costa Concordia Specifications
Construction and Launching
The Costa Concordia cruise ship was commissioned to be built in the year 2004, the first vessel in the Cost Cruises’ peerless Concordia classification. Constructed at Sestri Ponente, the Genoese shipbuilding arm of the reputed shipbuilders and designers Fincantieri, the vessel’s classification – Concordia – is a symbolic gesture of unity and concord between all the countries in the European continent.
With a total constructional cost of almost US$ 570 million, the Costa Concordia was finally put into operation in the year 2006. The largest Italian cruise ship at the time of its launching, the vessel’s launching ceremony created a stir amongst the international maritime community.
The traditional bottle of champagne, expected to be opened and broken to signify a vessel’s christening didn’t break after it was duly opened by celebrity inaugurator, fashion model Eve Herzigova. This led to a huge wave of superstitious negativity following and prognosticating the fate of the vessel’s operability in the longer run.
Dimensions and Features
- The vessel measured slightly over 290 metres (290.2) lengthwise with a breadth of 35.5 metres and a draft of over eight metres
- The vessel was capable of attaining speeds of over 21 knots and had a DWT of 1, 14,500 tonnes
- The vessel’s propulsion was enabled by six diesel generators, each capable of generating over 75 Mw (Megawatts) of power. In addition to this, the vessel was also equipped with two propellers functioning through two electric motoring systems, each generating about 21 Mw of power, when needed.
Looking at the Costa Concordia photos, it’s very obvious that the vessel was extremely eye-catching and splendid on its outside. And just as beautiful the vessel was on its exterior, the interior was equally well-furnished as well.
With a voyager carrying capacitance of almost 4,000, the Costa Concordia passenger ship had a slew of crew members to provide servicing assistance to its voyagers. Amenities aboard the ship included five top-notch eateries and restaurants, spas and a vast work-out expanse containing a gymnasium, sun-lounge, a sweat room and a Turkish style bath. The vessel’s recreational service offering, meanwhile, included a triad of theatres, a disco, a Formula One games’ simulator and card-playing casino.
In the entire duration of a cruise trip aboard the Costa Concordia, patrons were taken to the highest echelons of fun and fanfare, which perhaps makes it even more difficult to digest the sad tale of its avertable accident.
Costa Concordia Grounding and Sinking
Prior to the vessel’s fatality in 2012, it had suffered from a relatively minor mishap in the year 2008. A heavy gale at the Maltese coast caused damage to the vessel’s prow as it collided against its wharf. The accident caused an acute delay in the flow of the maritime traffic for a few days, though the situation was resolved without any adverse problems.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship however wasn’t so lucky in the month of January, this year, as a slight negligence on the part of its skipper, led to it being grounded in the Sea of Tyrrhenian. There was a diversion from the intended route of the vessel, which, after leaving the port of Civitavecchia was to reach the Savona Port, before taking off again to reach five other ports in and around the Italian peninsula.
The skipper, Francesco Schettino instead of routing the vessel as per the stipulated route, diverted the vessel’s course to the island of Giglio. However the failure to monitor the closeness of the vessel’s position with respect to the shoals and rocks in the shallower parts of the island, led to a huge catastrophe. The vessel’s hull sprung a leak on its port side (left-hand side) which caused it to lean and angle on its starboard side (right-hand side), on which side the ship ultimately sank.
The easy deployment of the life-boats though, prevented a huge-scale loss of life of passengers and crew. It was however, the captain’s choice to take the easy way out instead of helping everyone to safety that created a huge wave of uproar. Instead of staying with his crew and the passengers, helping them to safety, the captain decided to jump ship and was amongst those who escaped in the first of the life-boats deployed. Coupled with such utter disregard for the profession, was the skipper’s casual and uninterested attitude about his decision to abscond while others were battling for their lives.
Francesco Schettino and other crew personnel are presently facing investigative charges. Though various causal factors have emerged to be the cause of the sinking, a thorough investigative report prepared by investigative experts is being compiled. Based on the findings in the reports, the ex-captain and the crew are expected to be charged in the court of law.
However amidst these happenings, the process of salvage to re-haul the Costa Concordia is soon set to start. Contractual plans engaging the best salvagers in the business have been drawn up and everything looks set, except for the start of the actual salvaging proceedings itself. Maybe once that starts and the ship’s completely re-hauled, the Costa Concordia ship can be hoped to be reincarnated in a completely new light.