Titanic Tales: The Costa Concordia


36 Responses to “Titanic Tales: The Costa Concordia”

  1. awjt says:

    I just wanna know why Giglio is so far away from Lesbos.

  2. DaughterNumberThree says:

    “We had to unleash the lifeboats ourselves: the instructors who had taught us how to do that jumped into the boats. There were no signs of ship officers to calm the passengers.”

    I have been avoiding stories about this ship because I know it’s just another example of paying attention to the bad things that happen to the shiny rich while ignoring all the bad that happens everyday to the rest of us. But this quote makes this story worth it. Something was rotten here from the captain (or above him) on down.

  3. Lobster says:

    I give you… Rapture!

  4. anansi133 says:

    The last time I remember a cruise ship in trouble, the captain and crew also bugged out, saving themselves without helping the passengers. I wonder what the NTSB would say about this failure mode?

  5. SamSam says:

    If you speak Italian, the recording of the phone call between the captain of the ship and the captain of the port authority (starts about 30 s in) is just awful.

    Basically, the port demands to know why the captain abandoned ship and orders him to go back and start taking charge — or at least taking part — of the rescue. The captain keeps blubbering that its dark and that he’s “organizing things from the shore.” The port authority captain (who sounds amazing, btw, really taking charge under stress) states that, as the captain abandoned ship, he’s taking command of the ship and that disobeying his orders is illegal, and repeatedly demands that the captain go back and do his duty. Mostly, though, it sounds like an angry teacher shouting at a disobedient and petulant child.

    Accidents do happen, but how you react after them is what makes a person a hero or a villain. This captain was no Captain Sully, and I hope he goes straight to jail.


    • In the case of this particular shitstain, the accident was entirely the result of his irresponsibility and dereliction of duty. His behavior after the wreck is just the cherry on the shit sundae he made.

    • SamSam says:

      One of my favorite lines from the recording, on re-listening to it, was “Listen, you may have saved yourself from the sea, but I am going to bring you into a world of hurt. Now get back aboard! Fuck!

    • yesthatkarim says:


      PORT AUTHORITY: Concordia, we ask you if all is ok there.

      CAPTAIN SOLO: Everything’s under control. Situation normal.

      PORT AUTHORITY: What happened?

      CAPTAIN SOLO: We had a slight electrical malfunction.  But, uh, everything’s perfectly alright now.  We’re fine… we’re all fine here, except for the people we can’t account for after we abandoned ship.

      PORT AUTHORITY: You abandoned ship?

      CAPTAIN SOLO: But most of us are fine. There is a man going around taking Starbucks orders.  Did you want anything?

      PORT AUTHORITY: We’re sending the Coast Guard.

      CAPTAIN SOLO: Negative, negative, we’re all fine here.  We’re just sitting around on the shore and enjoying some time on land.  If you send the Coast Guard it’s just going to complicate the coffee orders.  Have you tried taking drink orders for 2,000 people AND the Coast Guard?

      PORT AUTHORITY: Who is this? I want to speak to the Captain of the MS Costa Concordia!

      CAPTAIN SOLO: [dropping radio into ocean] Boring conversation anyway.

    • angusm says:

      The phone conversation is amazing: De Falco, the coastguard commander, is practically incandescent with rage, and Schettino, the cruise ship captain, is just mumbling excuses. It also illustrates a phenomenon I’ve noticed before: no matter how angry Italians are with each other, they use the polite forms. De Falco uses ‘lei’ rather than ‘tu’ throughout, and even his imperatives use the formal variant; he does let slip one ‘cazzo’ and a heartfelt ‘cristo’, though.

      There are a lot of approving tweets from Italians with the hashtag #defalco currently, and even more condemning #schettino. My favorite is from the Twitter user who says that he’s planning to use the recorded phrase “Get on board, goddammit!” as his new ringtone. (“goddammit” is not the literal translation of “cazzo”, which literally means ‘prick’, but it conveys the sense in this particular context).

      • SamSam says:

        Incandescent with rage but also brimming with iron professionalism. He’s understood at this point that the only way to move forward is to grab this petulant child by the ear and force him to do his duty. His anger stems from his incredulity that any captain would be so shameful as to be abandoning his post and his duty at this time.
        De Falco sounds like a real hero. I think he commanded the entire rescue that night, and probably can be credited with saving hundreds of lives. Actually, I’ve been listening to this recording on repeat today. As editorials in Italy are saying, De Falco sounds like he comes from another era, or from the movies — the heroic commander taking charge.

  6. yesthatkarim says:

    According to Wikipedia, MS Costa Concordia had 17 decks, not 13.  Likewise, according to the cached page of the vessel at costacruise.com, the Costa Concordia had 17 decks, 14 of which were for guests. 

    It did have 13 bars, including a “Cognac & Cigar” bar and a “Coffee & Chocolate” bar.

  7. cm says:

    The treatment of the crew on these ships, including Costa and Royal Caribbean, is abominable. It would be considered slave labor if it weren’t for the efforts of lawyers from these companies influencing the courts of port countries, and the fact that most are registered in another country entirely. Royal, for instance, is technically a “Liberian company.”

    For example, if a stateroom attendant needs a sick day, it’s not only that they don’t get sick pay, they actually have to PAY someone to take the shift for them. They rarely provide even the most meager safety equipment, forcing employees to buy it if they want (gloves, for example.)

    These cruise companies should be held to international labor law, but aren’t. I hope this story brings their crimes to light.

    • ArielTarzanija says:

      The pay the cruise companies offer seems mighty fine when viewed from some country like Serbia, so there are plenty of people who will gladly put up with such work conditions. They seem to think they wouldn’t be treated much better back home working a similar job they are qualified for. And they woul definitely be paid much less.

  8. jmv says:

    I want to know; how on earth do you salvage a ship like this, sitting so precariously close to the coast.

  9. show me says:

    Just came to say that the picture at the top of this story is so eerie and unreal that it totally looks ‘shopped.

  10. Lesley Graham says:

    “Every tragedy becomes romantic if it’s the last day of your life.” No it doesn’t.

    • TacoChuck says:

       Ya, what does that even mean? Is it possible there is a negation missing, that would make more sense. “If it’s not the last day of your life”

      My guess is tragedy becomes blind terror if it is the last day of your life.

    • Jasmina Tesanovic says:

      have you been there? I was!  Nobody is perfect!

  11. angrygoldfish says:

    It’s fashionable to characterize these cruise passengers as rich (implying some kind of comeuppance when it all goes so very wrong?), but I’ll bet you they’re mostly middle-class. This is not a country club on the sea, but the floating equivalent of a mid-range beach resort crossed with a package bus tour. The kind of place ordinary families go for a small taste of luxury, not the kind of place the 1% or even the 10% go to get away from the great unwashed. (Those kinds of cruise ships do exist, but they’re more like oversized yachts with capacities in the hundreds, not the thousands.)

    I took a similar cruise once. Never will again — just so much wrong with the whole thing — but the impression of ultra-luxury hyped by cruise lines and media is way overblown. A trip that can be had for as little as $300 is not exactly an activity for the truly rich, is it?

    As for what’s wrong even when it all goes right: massive quantities of wastewater generated, a kind of “travel” that produces sightseeing opportunities and little else, a tendency to attract an “ugly tourist” kind of clientele, mediocre food (and lots of it — great if you like the sight of a stereotypical American with a plate piled to overflowing with fried chicken), cheesy entertainment, gaudy decor, relentless nickle-and-diming… 

    It’s crass and wasteful all right, but it’s the kind of crass wastefulness that huge numbers of people can afford, and much the same kind that the average American indulges in on any vacation, if not every day.

  12. parrotboy says:

    Usually I appreciate Ms. Tesanovic’s articles, but this one didn’t seem to be much more than a retweet of all the breathless headlines we see all over the place. 

    I liked the beginning – there is a stark contrast between the sheer number of African migrants who die in the Mediterranean every year and the few poor souls who died on this vacation ship.  I know, the big ship is spectacular, and it is easier for most of us to imagine ourselves as one of the passengers in this kind of disaster than it is to see ourselves on a midnight overloaded migrant smuggling boat.  But seriously.

    The captain will almost certainly go to jail, perhaps for a long time.  He should be the second last person out of the ship, as a global rule (the last being the chief engineer).  And he (or whomever was deck officer at the time) should be reading the charts carefully. 

    It’s a tragedy, but my interest in the breathless analysis across all media forms is pretty much at an end.  Luckily for me there won’t be more than a couple of days before Lindsay Lohan or some other ego does something stupid and the cruise ship is utterly forgotten by everyone but those involved.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      BBC has run roughly fifty articles on this incident, some of them consisting of a mother commenting on a twenty-word phone call with her daughter and how they all feel about everything. They ran a phone call with a survivor where the BBC reporter keeps countering factual comments by the survivor with ghoulish questions like, “Was there panic? Did you have a sense of panic?” But the cherry on the exploitation sundae was a photo of the ship in one of the articles with a caption saying that a BBC journalist thought that the experience must have been terrifying. Lindsay Lohan can take a number. They won’t need to float that ship out of there because the BBC is planning to squeeze it dry.

  13. Jasmina Tesanovic says:

    you are right, i feel i must go to the bottom of this story especially now that this mud about the company and captain foul play is coming out, la machina del fango!

  14. hinten says:

    It is decidedly not a tradition to maneuver the ship close by the island. The captain took a completely different route just the week  prior. The difference during this trip was that he made a promise to the Maitre D’ on board to move the ship close to the island so he could wave to his sister on the island.
    The list and numbers of nationalities on board is wrong.
    Please define ‘wealthy’.
    Also, WTF have the waters in front of Tuscany to do with Africans? Africans usually come to the southern most spot in Italy, Sicily, which is 450 miles south from Giglio.

    Hard to believe that a pundit manages to piss on a disaster such as this while 29 are still missing.

  15. habbi1974 says:

    A 72yo woman from argentina saved herself by swimming some 100m, and calling it an act of survival rather than heroism. http://www.infobae.com/notas/627034-Tragedia-del-crucero-en-Italia-No-tenia-mas-remedio-que-tirarme-al-mar.html
    She also said the captain was “enfiestado, con alcohol y mujeres” (partying on alcohol and women).
    Btw, if there’s ever a movie of these wreck, Massimo Troisi is so playing captain Schettino!

    • SamSam says:

      It was a great feat for a 72-year-old woman, but I agree with her assessment of it. I would hope that the bar for “heroism” would be higher than saving your own skin, as laudable as it may be for someone to do that.

    • Jonathan Roberts says:

      She looks like a pretty healthy 72 year old,  I’d be more concerned about her being smothered by those microphones than failing to swim 100m in calm, fairly warm water.

    • Stefano Azzoni says:

      Massimo Troisi is dead.

  16. maoinhibitor says:

    Schettino… Schettino… after all bodies have been recovered, I think we need to hold a contest to determine what Schettino actually means. It worked wonders for Rick Santorum.

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