In 2012, the cruise ship Costa Concordia sank in shallow water off the coast of an Italian island.
As a group, cruise ships are incredibly safe vessels, yet the Costa Concordia incident brings up the need for passengers to keep safety in mind and prepare for the unexpected.
Remembering the sinking
The Costa Concordia was on a seven-day Italian cruise when it deviated from its planned course to offer passengers a view closer to shore. However, in sailing near the island of Giglio, the vessel struck a reef. The impact damaged the starboard side of the ship. Water rushed in and the vessel quickly began to list, making evacuation difficult. Of the 4,229 people on board, 32 perished and many others sustained serious injuries.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for regulating safety procedures aboard vessels. The IMO requires that passengers participate in a lifeboat drill within 24 hours of departure. Passengers must also have at least 30 minutes to evacuate. Evidence presented at the trial of the captain indicated that the safety of the passengers was not his primary concern. Some passengers testified that they did not hear an alarm that would tell them to proceed to the lifeboats.
Take charge of your own safety as a cruise ship passenger. Become acquainted with the ship so you know where to go if there is an emergency. Pay attention to the muster drill and find the location of the lifejackets. Know the signal for evacuation, normally seven short blasts of the ship’s horn, followed by one long blast. Many passengers sought legal counsel following the sinking of the Costa Concordia. In the event of an incident that causes you injury aboard a cruise ship, consider doing the same.