Saturday, January 21, 2012

Costa Concordia

What a shame.
Because of a Captains ego and stupidity, 11 people are dead and 21 people are missing in the waters off the Coast of Italy. Unless you live in a cave, you've heard this terrible story on the news.

Francesco Schettino, who obviously couldn't drive a launch in New York Harbor, was given command of a ship, it's cargo? Human beings.
He thought it would be cool to take the ship off course, within 800 feet of land, so he could salute the town folk?

I just spent an hour or so watching all the video the internet has to offer, and I still can't believe what he did or what his response to the grounding was. Stupid. Shameful. Childish. Cowardly.
These are just a few words that come to mind.

There is some discussion among so called experts, wondering aloud if the Captain screwed up by dropping the anchor after he ran aground.
Hey, there is a ship the size of THREE FOOTBALLS FIELDS laying on it's side, do you think the Captain screwed up?

I've been trying to come up with an analogy to explain to you land lovers, just how unbelievable it is that he ended up where he did when he was supposed to be MILES from any land. The channels are marked and where they are for a reason. If you stay in the channel most likely you won't murder your passengers.

I've never been on a cruise liner, but I've worked on ships bigger than that and presently work on a stout little ocean going tug and there is no difference in the training that is ongoing for the crews. It is tedious, repetitive and weekly. We run scenarios for fires,
groundings, damage control and abandon ship. In the 38 years that I have been training weekly, I never heard, upon a grounding scenario "GO BACK TO YOUR CABINS." Not even once.

From what I've read it looked like the Keystone Cops were running the show on that beautiful cruise ship. With the technology in my industry today, every move you make as a Officer on a ship is documented and recorded. Your vessel is tracked by on board computers as well as computers at the company offices. Many vessels have voice recorders, recording every word that is spoken in the bridge. The engine rooms have cameras, and every move I make in the engine room is recorded.

Before you even leave a port, voyage plans are filled out, submitted and filed, stating in great detail every move the vessel will make while traveling between point A and point B. To think that this hotdog, took that big ship, soooo far off course, risking the lives of all those passengers just so he could salute "his fans" ashore, it's maddening.

The cowardly actions of the Captain, leaving the disaster while passengers, under his charge, struggled for their lives is reprehensible. And the ego to order dinner an hour after he ran aground?

I can't help but think of all those innocent passengers who placed their trust in a Captain and a crew that obviously were not professional enough to do their jobs.

You don't get many chances to screw up on the water. Many many years ago I read a quote that I have never forgotten.

"Sailing, like flying, isn't inherently dangerous, but is mercilessly unforgiving of human error."


Alison said...

You are so right in everything you say, Mark. So preventable - unbelievable.

SueAnn said...

But geez...he just tripped and landed in a life boat!!! Ha!
What a jerk!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great post and such a sad and unbelievable in the world did he ever become a Captain of a cruise ship! I've never been on a cruise and not sure I ever want to. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Debi said...

You said it all better than anything I've read or heard. Such an unnecessary tragedy.

bon bon said...

i agree. foolish decision with a horrific outcome. the fact that he is facing manslaughter is fitting.

Melinda Owens said...

Yes, so incredibly irresponsible! The irony for me is that my husband and I are going on our first cruise in 10 days. My heart goes out to the families of those lost. Should never have happened.

Jerral Miles said...

The whole thing is unbelievable. Even a land-lubber knows better than to do what the hapless captain did. It's interesting how sometimes it happens that putting a special uniform and conferring a special title like supreme leader or captain on a megalomaniac makes him think he really is invincible. Conferring titles and rank should always be done very, very carefully. I like your recap of the situation. If you had been captain of that ship, all those people would be alive today.

beth said...

seriously, what you just wrote here is poetic and perfect and even better then anything i have read or heard about this tragedy.

now WHO out there has ties to a BIG newspaper or a HUGE television's time to get MARK seen and heard!!!!

ps....i'm totally serious in case you didn't get that at the start :)

Karen said...

I was looking forward to your perspective on this foolish disaster...

..all for ego? And then cowardess. He was ORDERD back to his ship by coastguards, I believe.

I feel so badly for the families... how did he ever get to his position, in deed.

great quote ~

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Pretty unimaginable really. Those poor families.