Monday, January 16, 2012

Costa Concordia Tragedy

Whether you are piloting a large ship or your own recreational vessel, most nautical disasters are the result of its Captain being overconfident, especially when it comes to the deadly mix of thinking he knows the waters well while having an opportunity to show off. Apparently, the Costa Concordia had "nautical flybys" the island of Giglio in the past, coming close to the island to bask in the approbation of tourists there and providing a close-up thrill for the passengers as well. Imagine, 114,000 gross tonnage lumbering along at some 15 knots hitting an immovable object.

On my own "ship" of some 40 feet, I once took my knowledge of local waters for granted and raced another vessel out to our Crow Island anchorage using a "short cut" as the sun was setting on a Friday evening and, unfortunately for me, as the tide had already started to recede, only to find my vessel hard aground a sand bar with no means of kedging off the bar. It's a long story, one that thankfully ended well, with no injuries other than to my severely bruised ego, and I'll tell it sometime, but it could have turned out very differently.

Showing off and thinking one has complete control of one's vessel under all conditions is just a lethal combination. I'm guilty so I know. I might also comment that of the two dozen or so cruises we've been on, none were on ships the size of the Concordia. The new megaships seem to be out of proportion, their height too much for the beam, with evacuation procedures not up to the standards necessary for a full complement of passengers and crew. Unfortunately, lessons to be learned now in retrospect.

January 21 Follow-up, Videos