Tag Archives: Costa Concordia

MARIME INSURANCE: Ship total losses on the rise


Edited from Tradewinds, 2012.09.17

Reported total ship losses have reached 39 this year compared to 24 at the same period of last year according to Harry Yerkes, chairman of the International Union of Marine Insurance’s (IUMI) ocean hull committee.

Yerkes warns that early casualty figures deteriorate quite markedly over the following 12 months so it would be no surprise if the 2012 total loss figure trebled in due course.

The falling insured value of ships and even shipping companies going out of business was adding to the claims pressure on underwriters according to Yerkes.

“This is putting us all under the gun,” Yerkes added ahead of the IUMI conference in San Diego.

The heavy claims and other pressures meant the outlook for the hull market was at best break even said Yerkes who is chief executive of the American Hull Insurance Syndicate.

Yerkes said underwriters would be questioning if they have analysed risk appropriately, what ship operators were doing to assess their operations and the safety and regulatory issues arising.

It would be bad enough even without the loss of Costa Concordia…


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COSTA CONCORDIA: An organizational accident, after all?

It is increasingly clear to me that what took place off Giglio last January was an organizational rather than an individual accident. Have a look at the text below, from http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/98536–court-experts-fault-captain-crew-owner-for-deadly-ship-grounding-off-tuscany, and have your say:

ROME – Court-appointed experts have squarely blamed the captain of a cruise ship that ran aground off Italy for the wreckage and deaths of 32 people, but they also faulted the crew and ship owner for a series of blunders, delays and safety breaches that contributed to the disaster.

The Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio on Jan. 13 after Capt. Francesco Schettino took it off course and brought it close to the island as part of a stunt. He is accused of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all passengers were evacuated.

Eight other people, among them crew members and Costa’s crisis co-ordinator, are also under investigation. The court in Grosseto ordered the expert investigation to help it determine who, if anyone, should be put on trial. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

In a 270-page analysis, the four experts described in second-by-second detail the unfolding disaster as Schettino slowly came to realize the gravity of the situation. Using data and voice recorders to reconstruct the drama on the bridge, the report showed how Schettino failed to grasp for a good 45 minutes repeated reports from his crew that his ship was flooding and its motors dead.

The analysis came out Wednesday and was placed online Thursday by the Rome daily La Repubblica.

The experts contrasted what went wrong on board with maritime rules and procedures and determined that Schettino should have given the “abandon ship” order at 10 p.m. that night, 15 minutes after the 9:45 p.m. grounding against the rocks off Giglio.

Instead, the evacuation order only went out at 10:43 p.m. — and Schettino himself didn’t give it but another officer, in violation of maritime rules. By that time, passengers on their own had already reported to their muster stations with life jackets on, despite a decision from a crew member at one point that they should go back to the dining room.

“Madonna, what a mess I’ve made,” Schettino muttered soon after the collision, according to the transcript.

Beyond Schettino’s faults, the experts said a series of problems hobbled the execution of his initial manoeuvre and efforts to fix it, and contributed to the botched evacuation. Bridge crew members bungled directions and didn’t his understand orders because of language barriers. Other crew members weren’t trained or certified in security and emergency drills, the report found.

In all, the experts said, Schettino and his bridge crew showed “scarce professional seriousness” before and during the disaster, with Schettino joking just before the crash, after his helmsman again misunderstood an order, that he needed to do it right “otherwise we go on the rocks.”

And the experts said ship owner Costa Crociere bore blame, too, by delaying alerting coastal authorities about the emergency — a charge Costa denied Thursday.

In a statement, Costa said by law it was Schettino who was supposed to have alerted authorities about the accident, and that the captain assured the Costa crew on land that he had done so. And regardless, Costa said, Schettino’s reports to Costa’s headquarters were so delayed, “partial and confused” that the company couldn’t discern how serious the emergency was.

Yet the expert report said Schettino had “clearly explained the situation” to Costa’s fleet crisis co-ordinator in his initial call. Schettino was far less forthcoming when the Livorno port authorities called him after hearing word the ship was in trouble: in that conversation, Schettino only told the port that there was a blackout on board.

And Costa firmly rejected the experts’ claims that the crew was unprepared for emergencies, saying the “alleged defects in the certifications of some of the crew” didn’t affect the evacuation.

From the start, passengers described a confused and delayed evacuation, with many of the lifeboats unable to be lowered because the boat was listing too far to one side. Some of the 4,200 people aboard jumped into the Mediterranean and swam to Giglio, while others had to be plucked from the vessel by rescue helicopters hours after the collision.

Some passengers said they were shocked to see Schettino already ashore when they were being evacuated. Schettino claims he helped direct the evacuation from the island after leaving the ship. The report demonstrates how he refused several demands by port authorities to return to the ship to oversee the evacuation.

Schettino has insisted that by guiding the stricken ship to shallower waters near Giglio’s port instead of immediately ordering an evacuation he potentially saved lives. He has claimed that another official, and not he, was at the helm when the ship struck.

But the timeline in the expert report makes clear that he had assumed control with a verbal order at 9:39 p.m., after being called back up to the bridge to oversee the stunt, which he had planned as a favour to friends from Giglio.

Work has begun to remove the tons of rocky reef embedded into the Concordia’s hull, a first step in plans to eventually tow the wreck away from the island.

The whole removal process is expected to take as long as a year.

To learn more about organizational accidents, an interesting starting point might be Organizational Accidents: A Systemic Model of Production versus Protection, a paper written by Yang Miang Goh, Peter E. D. Love, Helen Brown and Jeffery Spickett of Curtin University of Technology, Australia. I quote the abstract below:

Production pressure is often cited as an underlying contributory factor of organizational accidents. The relationship, however, between production and safety protection is complex and has not been adequately addressed by current theories regarding organizational accident. In addressing this gap, this paper uses the methodology of system dynamics to develop a causal model to address the dynamic interaction between management of production and protection, which can accumulate in an organizational accident. A case study of a fatal rock fall accident in Tasmania, Australia was conducted based on the developed model and is used to uncover the intricate dynamics linking production pressure, risk tolerability, perception of safety margin, and protection efforts. In particular, the study demonstrates how a strong production focus can trigger a vicious cycle of deteriorating risk perception and how increased protection effort can, ironically, lead to deterioration of protection.

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SHIPPING: Costa Concordia removal to become time-lapse movie

A Dutch movie company has begun filming the events taking place at the site of the sunken Italian liner, the Costa Concordia. The goal is to produce a time-lapse movie of the refloating and towing-away of the ill-fated cruise ship.

Bo de Visser of Prorama Films has told Digital Journal in an email interview that he has twice gone to the ship, which went down off the shore of the island of Giglio on Jan. 13. The time-lapse filmmaker said the “main challenge lies within being able to contact the right people in Italy” while 1600km (1100 miles) away in the Netherlands. His first visit was to get permits and take care of electricity needs and other technical requirements, his second saw him begin the filming.

Costa Concordia time-lapse film

De Visser, who said he does not speak Italian – “I can order two beer and a pizza and that’s about as far as it goes” – got by with English and any method he could dream up to communicate with officials, many who spoke only Italian. He’s had his camera in place and filming since May 12.

“Out of respect to the victims of the disaster filming has not started until the first phase of the salvage operations were finished,” de Visser told Digital Journal. “During this first phase victims were still being recovered from the sunken vessel.”

The filmmaker says that when the ship has been refloated and towed away he will produce more than one time-lapse movies. “There will be various versions, from 5 minutes till 1 hour,” he said. “And during the project there will be several episodes of the key stages of the salvage.” He has already created a short time-lapse movie called ‘Clouds over the Costa Concordia.’

The shots Prorama’s camera are now taking will be part of the accumulated moments that make up the movie and the live feed is available to view most of the day (between 05:00-21:00 CET) on a website called The Last Salute.

Costa Concordia: The Last Salute

Work to remove the ship began in earnest June 1 and is being done by the American salvage company, Titan Salvage, along with the Italian company, Micoperi. Thirty-two people died in the tragedy, with 30 bodies recovered to date. The similarities to arguably the greatest maritime disaster in history, the sinking of the Titanic, is partly what drew de Visser to the Costa Concordia.

“Immediately my thoughts drifted to the Titanic, which sank almost 100 years ago,” he said when describing how he felt upon hearing of the disaster. “The comparison was easily made: the Costa Concordia is a modern day Titanic.”

The project to refloat the boat is to de Visser “the greatest salvage operation of all times” and he wanted he and his company to be there. “This movie will document an event that will be history in the making,” he said. “And I would like to be a part of that.”


Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/326231#ixzz1xF6S8WKt


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VENICE: Cruise shipping bound by stricter safety rules

The Costa Concordia disaster continues to create waves for the European cruise industry, with details of new restrictions on navigation through Venice emerging today at a meeting of the local port authority.

Read more at http://www.cruise-community.com/News/News-Headlines/New-post-Concordia-rules-restrict-navigation-in-Venice.html.

Additional reading: http://www.veniceinperil.org/newsroom/press/reroute-for-cruise-ships-venice

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COSTA CONCORDIA: Carnival boss, a ghost?

From The Independent (United Kingdon), 2012.01.25. :

The US owner of the passenger liner wrecked off the Italian coast 12 days ago with the loss of up to 32 lives was accused last night of failing to take responsibility for the tragedy, as prosecutors shone a light on failed safety procedures.

Angry consumer groups are demanding to know why Micky Arison, the billionaire head of Costa Cruise’s Miami-based parent company, Carnival Corporation, has failed to make an appearance on the island of Giglio, where passengers’ bodies are still being dragged out of the wrecked Costa Concordia.

Kendall Carver, president of the US-based International Cruise Victims group, said: “The response, or lack of it, by Carnival is disgraceful. This is a PR disaster for the company.”

Meanwhile, yesterday, the La Repubblica newspaper, commenting on Mr Arison’s low profile, asked: “Who is this mysterious boss and how has he managed to remain like a ghost since the tragedy?” One US lawyer specialising in maritime law, Jim Walker of Walker and O’Neill Partners, said on his blog that Carnival executives “were close behind the disgraced captain Francesco Schettino in trying to ruin their reputations”.

He added: “Arison admittedly expressed his condolences from the comfort of his 200ft luxury yacht in the Miami area. But carefully crafted corporate PR statements go only so far.

“He failed to appear at the scene. How hard is it to hop in a Gulfstream jet and fly to Rome and then head over to the island of Giglio? In Miami, we hear snickering that as the Costa Concordia sits on its side with dead passengers still trapped inside, some of the Carnival executives have been seen gallivanting around town at black-tie gala parties and even Miami Heat professional basketball games.”

Beniamino Deidda, the state prosecutor of Tuscany, the coast of which would be devastated should the Concordia’s 2,400 tonnes of fuel oil leak out, also launched a fierce attack on the owners of the liner that crashed after its captain made a showboating manoeuvre close to shore. “Who chose the captain?” he asked. “We need to turn our attention to the decision made higher up by the employer, ie the shipping company.”

Italy’s Codacons consumer group is launching a class-action suit over the disaster. A spokesman said last night: “We are launching the action against both Costa and Carnival of Miami. We consider them both responsible.”

A spokesman for Costa Cruises said the firm would not comment while prosecutors investigated. Carnival said: “Micky Arison and the management team of Carnival Corporation have been in continuous contact with the Costa executive team in Italy.”

[A statement carefully crafted to reveal nothing, except, it would seem, that Carnival is protecting itself while leaving the passengers, who trusted them, in the dark — as they were on January 13.]

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Costa Cruise Disaster: Spotlight Shifts to Carnival – Where’s Micky?

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COSTA CONCORDIA: Captain not the only one to blame, says prosecutor

Edited from The Guardian, 2012.01.24. Bolds and italics are mine. 

The chief prosecutor overseeing the inquiry into the Costa Concordia shipwreck has urged investigators to look beyond the behaviour of the captain to the role played by the liner’s owners, Costa Cruises.

His remarks were published as salvage experts began the delicate task of pumping out around 2,400 tonnes of fuel to prevent an environmental disaster in the area where the vessel ran aground on 13 January.

Beniamino Deidda, the chief prosecutor of Tuscany, said in an interview carried by several Italian newspapers on Tuesday: “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 lift their gaze to the decisions taken by “the employer; that is to say, the ship’s owner”.

Costa Cruises has from the outset put the blame for the accident squarely on the allegedly reckless behaviour of the captain, Francesco Schettino. He lost control of the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia after hitting a rock as he skirted the shoreline of the island of Giglio in a ‘salute’ to a retired cruise line commodore.

But 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 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 his employers have a shared responsibility for what happened. Among 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 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 considering whether to bring charges of manslaughter and the illegal abandoning of a ship. […]

The voice of reason, at last!

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COSTA CONCORDIA: Fuel removal in focus

From the Huffington Post, 2012.01.24:

ROME — Nudged gently by the tides off Tuscany, the capsized Costa Concordia has been deemed stable enough on its rocky perch for salvagers to begin pumping fuel oil from its giant tanks as early as Tuesday.

The cruise liner, its hull gashed by a reef and pocked by holes blasted by divers searching for the missing, yielded two more bodies Monday, 10 days after the accident. The corpses of two women were found in the luxury liner’s Internet cafe, now 55 feet (17 meters) underwater.

Tables, desks, elegant upholstered armchairs and cabinets bobbed in the sea as divers guided the furniture out of the holes to clear space for their exploration inside.

So far, the bodies of 15 people have been found, most of them in the submerged portion of the vessel, while 17 others remain unaccounted for. Authorities said earlier reports that an unregistered Hungarian woman had called friends from the ship before it flipped over turned out to be groundless.

The Concordia rammed a reef and capsized Jan. 13 off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio as it was carrying 4,200 passengers and crew on a Mediterranean cruise.

Salvage experts received the green light Monday to start pumping fuel soon from the double-lined tanks of the Concordia. The weekslong fuel-removal operation aims to avert a possible environmental catastrophe in the waters off Giglio, part of a protected seven-island marine park.

Officials said the pumping would be carried out as divers continue the search for the missing since instrument readings have determined the Concordia was not at risk of sliding into deeper waters and being swallowed by the sea.

“The ship is stable,” said Franco Gabrielli, head of the national civil protection agency. “There is no problem or danger that it is about to drop onto much lower seabed.”

Meanwhile, an oily film was spotted about 300 yards (meters) from the capsized vessel by officials flying in a helicopter and by residents of Giglio, Gabrielli’s office said. Samples were being analyzed, but preliminary observations indicated the slick is a light oil and not from heavy fuel inside the Concordia’s tanks.

Absorbent panels put around the area seem to have at least partially absorbed the oil, authorities said.

The ship’s Italian captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest near Naples, facing possible charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his vessel while some people were still aboard. He has insisted that he was coordinating rescue operations from a lifeboat and then from shore.

The ship’s operator, Costa Crociere SpA, has distanced itself from the captain, contending he made an unauthorized detour from the ship’s authorized route. Schettino, however, has reportedly told investigators that Costa officials requested that he sail close to Giglio in a publicity move.

In a statement issued late Monday, Costa said it would refund passengers the full cost of the cruise and reimburse all travel and any medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Schettino’s lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, told reporters Monday that tests on urine and hair samples showed his client was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs before the crash. Prosecutors are not allowed to discuss the investigation while it is under way and it was impossible to confirm the report.

Despite earlier fears, officials said the crippled cruise ship, with a 230-foot (70-meter) gash in its hull, is not expected to roll off its rocky seabed perch and be swallowed by the sea.

An Italian geologist on Giglio monitoring the ship’s movements said the Concordia was not so much moving as “responding to the tides.”

“It is moving at the rate of about one or two millimeters an hour,” Nicola Casagli told Sky TV TG24.

The sea has been calm for several days but was expected to become choppy in the next few days.

Islanders have been pressing for removal of the heavy, tar-like fuel from the ship’s 17 tanks to avert a possible catastrophic leak.

“They should start the oil drainage operations on the ship. At this point those who died will not come back to life. Even if they pull them out later, unfortunately it won’t make a difference,” Giglio resident Andrea Ginanneschi told The Associated Press.

Five miles (eight kilometers) of oil barriers have been laid to protect marine life and the pristine waters, which are prime fishing grounds and a protected area for dolphins and whales.

Recovery experts from the Dutch salvage company Smit have said they will create holes in the top and the bottom of each tank, heating the fuel so it flows more easily and pumping from the top while forcing air in from the bottom. For the underwater tanks, sea water will be used to displace the fuel, which becomes thick and gooey when cooled.

Besides some 2,200 metric tons of heavy fuel oil, there are 185 metric tons of diesel and lubricants on board, as well as chemicals including cleaning products and chlorine. Some diesel and lubricants have leaked into the water near the ship, probably from machinery on board, officials have said.

“Smit has been ready for a week to begin pumping fuel from the tanks, awaiting only the go-ahead,” said a company statement. “For this purpose, Smit has mobilized an oil tanker with emergency response equipment, including sweeping arms, booms and a skimmer.”

Seven bodies still await identification. Gabrielli said officials have DNA from the relatives of all of the missing passengers and are working to confirm their names.

On Monday, the body of a woman found in the ship a few days earlier was identified as that of a 30-year-old Italian woman, a new bride who was on the Mediterranean cruise with several family members.

Barry reported from Milan. Andrea Foa reported from Giglio.



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