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"Costa Lot"

The Tragic Grounding & Capsize of M/V Costa Concordia

Feature Date: January 13 2012 In Singles Only

Event Date: January 13 2012

M/V Costa Concordia

IMO Number:: 9320544

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On The Scene -- Off Isola del Giglio, Italy

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REFLECTIONS UOPN A CASUALTY - our expert opinon on the loss of M/V Costa Concordia by Geoffrey W. Gill, Esq.

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A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Date: January 13 2012

The Time: 21:45 Local

The Place: Off Isola del Giglio, Italy


"Costa Lot"

M/V Costa Concordia

IMO Number: 9320544

On The Scene Off Isola del Giglio, Italy

January 13 2012


M/V Costa Concordia In Better Days

M/V Costa Concordia
M/V Costa Concordia

Name:: M/V Costa Concordia

Owner: Carnival Corporation & plc

Operator: Costa Cruises

Port of registry: Genoa, Italy

Route: Western Mediterranean

Ordered: 19 January 2004

Builder: Fincantieri Sestri Ponente, Italy

Cost: ¤450 million (£372M, US$570M

Yard number: 6122

Launched: 2 September 2005

Christened: 7 July 2006[2]

Acquired By The Line: 30 June 2006

Maiden voyage: 14 July 2006

In service: July 2006

Out of service: 13 January 2012

Status: Capsized off Isola del Giglio, Italy

IMO Number: 9320544

MMSI Number.: 247158500

Call sign: IBHD

Class & Type: Concordia Class Cruise Ship

Tonnage: 114,137 GT

Length: LOA 290.20 m (952 ft 1 in)

LBP 247.4 m (811 ft 8 in)

Beam: 35.50 m (116 ft 6 in)

Draught: 8.20 m (26 ft 11 in)

Depth: 14.18 m (46 ft 6 in)

Decks: 17

Installed power: 6 x Wärtsilä diesel engines, 75,600 kilowatts (101,400 hp)

Propulsion: Diesel-electric; two shafts (2 ? 21 MW) - Two fixed pitch propellers


Service: 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph) - Maximum: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)

Capacity: 3780 passengers

Crew: 1,100

The Prolog To Disaster


MV Costa Concordia is a 114,000 ton ship -- larger than either RMS Titanic or RMS Queen Mary -- which has suffered an historic loss of passengers & property.

Cargo Law has many unique & relevant details of this major loss to report to you, but due to our limited staff, our material will be posted after we complete publication of The Cargo Letter for the month of January 2012, within the next several days.

We have called our feature "Costa Lot" -- because this may be the most expensive marine loss of all time -- but no humor is intended for this tragedy.

We have posted illusrative photos, but please expect our unique coverage shortly.

This feature deals will still highlight the concept ---"Ship Happens! ©"

Michael S. McDaniel - Your Editor



The Loss of M/V Costa Concordia

by Geoffrey W. Gill, Esq.

Whatever one's point of view may be, there appears unanimous agreement that the Friday 13 January 2012 casualty to the passenger liner Costa Concordia will be an "industry changing event." Remaining to be seen is the direction and magnitude of that change, though the change can be expected to be significant in view of other publicly notorious maritime casualties and their consequences: Titanic, triggering the Saving of Life at Sea convention; Herald of Free Enterprise, triggering the International Safety Management Code and concept of a maritime safety culture; Exxon Valdez, triggering Oil Pollution Act 1990; and Erika, triggering a European Union ban against single hull tankers, being examples.

However, for all the shock and incredulity inspired by the casualty, it was but one of a number occurring over roughly the past month: on Christmas Day, the loaded Vietnamese bulk carrier Vinalines Queen sank in rough weather with the loss of 22 of 23 crewmen; the South Korean tanker Doola No. 3 was almost split in two by an explosion, with 11 seafarers missing; and, a bulk carrier and ferry collided off Morocco, to name but a few. The sea remains a dangerous place and seafaring a dangerous occupation. Indeed, maritime insurance data reflect that over a recent 10-year period, claims cost the P&I industry on average USD 4 million a day, with more than 65% of this pay-out attributable to incidents in which human error played a dominant part and, further, the average number of incidents involving serious or total loss of vessels over 500 grt had risen steadily over the 15-year period to 2008.

As for Costa Concordia, while much remains unknown or subject to speculation, what is known is that this 4,800 person capacity modern passenger liner struck a rock, part of a charted outcropping, while engaged in some form of "tourist navigation" allowing her to be seen by inhibitants of and visitors to the Island of Giglio off Italy's Tuscan coast. With 17 dead and 16 still missing, this casualty remains subject of a media feeding frenzy with editorial stigmatization of the ship's master and speculation as to underlying circumstances. The following comments rely, in part, upon analysis provided by g-Captain of AIS information from the vessel, generalized information from Lloyd's List, and the comment author's recent book Maritime Error Management and his many years as a licensed deck officer and maritime attorney, and only minimally upon coverage by the popular media.

While specific details have yet to be agreed upon, a fair observation is that the vessel was much closer to land &endash; certainly to the rock outcropping &endash; than anyone had intended. The vessel's owner has stated that a deviation from the expected voyage passage plan to come close to the island of Giglio was "unauthorized, unapproved and unknown" to owner's shoreside management. Perhaps unrelated, there is evidence that last summer one of the company' passenger vessels made an authorized "sail by" close by the island, during which that vessel passed considerably closer than the minimum 500 meters expected, and perhaps as close as 200 meters to the rock subsequently struck by Costa Concordia. Perhaps more relevant is evidence that prior to the casualty voyage, there were several other "sail bys" of the owner's vessels by the island. To the extent other formally unauthorized sail bys may have occurred &endash; recognizing that such events would have been common knowledge on board within at least the bridge navigation team &endash; suggests a "normalization of deviance," where a deviant organizational or shipboard experience gains a level of acceptance because there is neither a bad outcome nor punitive response nor peer disapproval. What may once have been idiosyncratic tends to become accepted. An example of normalization of deviance was NASA's Challenger tragedy.

Another, perhaps more alarming, scenario presents if Costa Concordia's captain Shettino did in fact violate a company rule prohibiting such or similar deviations [and, in any event, deliberate sailing so close to a charted outcropping violates multiple rules of good seamanship]. Deliberate violation of formal rules, regulations, policies and procedures [RRPP] is more common than may be expected. A study of aviation pilots found an approximate 20% of the study pilots violated RRPP (violators being referred to as "drongos," a species of Australian bird purportedly noted for regularly defecating upon the heads of passers-by) while another study of North Sea oil field workers found a 29.6% rate. Interestingly, violators violate not usually for personal benefit but rather, among other factors, generally to benefit their employer. Not surprisingly, the violation of RRPP is of great concern within the maritime industry, due in part to the traditional on board authoritarian command structure as well as to the geographic remoteness of the vessels and their personnel from shoreside management. This remoteness also contributes to frequent erosion of the ISM Code inspired company safety culture into a vessel peculiar safety climate.

Captain Shettino's actual motivation for deviating from the original voyage passage plan is unlikely to be known until there is a Vessel Data Recorder transcript of the discussions that occurred on the bridge. However, AIS data from the vessel suggests the vessel did so deviate.

The circumstances of the deviation and subsequent navigation implicate little-studied cognitive issues related to maritime watch-standing. Presumably the decision to approach the island was announced by captain Shettino, with or without explanation, to his bridge team then on watch. While he purportedly claims that navigation close to the island was "by eye," information has not yet been disclosed regarding whether or to what extent courses were laid down on a chart or the scale of such chart. At a minimum, appropriate Bridge resource Management would have required timely discussion of the contemplated deviation, with all relevant aspects carefully and jointly evaluated by the navigation team. Consideration should have been given to whether the deviation and its execution was consistent with prevailing company operating procedures. Any dissenting opinions should have been expressed, heard and evaluated. The failure of subordinate officers to question the master's decision if inconsistent with RRPP or otherwise in any way alarming would have constituted what may be referred to as "destructive obedience," an abdication of professional resp0nsibility involving deliberate or slavish acquiescence to orders or practices recognized as unsafe or contrary to standing orders or procedures. Such destructive obedience was demonstrated by the submarine USS Greeneville's OOD failing to question the commanding officer's abbreviated surface search by periscope minutes before the surfacing submarine struck and sank the Japanese fishing training vessel Ehime Maru.

The anticipated sail by should have been plotted against navigational hazards and a danger zone determined, marked and avoided. All means available, presumably numerous and functioning, for ascertaining the vessel's position and progress should have been utilized to maintain constant situational awareness at all three levels: perception, comprehension and projection. Certainly, as had been proven previously, a successful sail by was possible to achieve, albeit with diminished safety margins. The casualty occurring despite the availability of technologically advanced navigational equipment is likely to precipitate further discussion and argument whether such equipment de-skills traditional navigational knowledge and practice, a corollary to the general belief that mariners are allowing technology to do their thinking.

Analysis of Costa Concordia AIS information assessed from ashore suggests several executory deficiencies.

Costa Concordia appears to have approached the island at an over the ground speed of 15.5 knots &endash; fast under the circumstances. While maneuverability at speed is improved, a faster speed compresses the time available for analysis and assessment of the evolving situation &endash; especially critical when the evolution is accompanied by stress, as would be a relatively sudden decision to pass close by a rocky island outside any marked channel. The degree of the starboard turn to parallel the island and clear the outcropping appears to have been made later than would have been intended and certainly later than necessary for safety. The danger, as the vessel proceeded parallel to the island, presented by the rock appears to have been recognized at the proverbial "last minute," as a turn to starboard appears to have been initiated almost at the rock, but with the ship's pivot point about one third the ship's length abaft the bow and the momentum of her forward motion, Costa Concordia still tended toward the rock so a hard turn to port seems to have been started in an effort to swing the midships and stern areas away from the rock.

Following contact, the ship suffered a blackout, though how extensive is unclear. Certainly emergency electrical power would be expected to have kicked in. Propulsion and steering were lost or minimized, thereby adversely affecting an initial attempt to bring the ship closer to the port beyond the rock for assistance.

With the vessel's speed reduced to less than three knots but with her heading taking her away from land, the bow thruster was engaged to push the bow to starboard so she was brought about and with wind and current working on the vessel's starboard side she was set down toward a sandy area where she grounded, laying on her starboard side with an approximate 80 degree list.

Certainly the event had an immediate traumatic effect upon the command and navigating team &endash; just how severe remains to be seen. While much criticism has been directed relative to post-strike decisions and behavior, not all relevant information has come to light. At least for the moment, perspective may be gained from considering the question posed in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim: "Do you know what you would have done? Do you?"

Overall, proper evaluation of the vessel's handling and individuals' performance cannot fairly be made until the "bounded reality" of Captain Shettino and his navigating team is known. "Bounded reality" refers to the notion that in decision making, individuals' rationality is limited by the information they possess and otherwise is available, the cognitive restrictions of their minds relative to that information, and the limited period of time available within which decisions must be made.

Once the bounded reality of the personnel of Costa Concordia and other relevant information is known, hopefully then informed decisions may be made by politicians and regulators in a direction to minimize maritime casualties.

Geoffrey Gill, Esq.

Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel

Geoffrey Gill, Esq.

Senior litigation attorney with career focus on maritime issues of Hull & Machinery, Yachts, Cargo and Cruise Ships. He is an experienced deck officer, Sailing Master of Unlimited Tonnage and a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the U.S. Naval War College.

Maritime Books By Geoffrey W. Gill, Esq.

Maritime Error Management: Discussing and Remediating Factors Contributory to Casualties - 2012 Schiffer Publishing
An experienced deck officer and maritime litigation attorney objectively considers cognitive, organizational, and operational factors proven to contribute to maritime casualties. Research from other safety-critical domains, as well as knowledge gained from 40 years within the maritime industry, inform this book. It provides a focused overview of present day maritime safety issues and suggests risk management strategies effective from the wheelhouse as well as the board room. Subjects covered include the evolution of the current maritime safety philosophy, dealing with maritime risk, bridge resource management, the nature of error, situational awareness and decision making, violations, technology and eNavigation, and organizational management and failure in regards to maritime risk. Unique to the book is the respect for the interests of the mariner as well as the interests of shore side management, interests traditionally seen as conflicting.

Gill On Admiralty - Admiralty, 5th (Vols. 7-7A, West's® Federal Forms) Copyright: 2009-2011


M/V Costa Concordia

The Luxurious Mega Cruise Ship


Larger Than Either RMS Titanic Or RMS Queen Mary

M/V Costa Concordia Is A Mega Complex Vessel

Massive Public Spaces

Multi-Level Show Room


Lavish Dining In A Grand Room

Private Dining

Esqusite Detail Marked M/V Costa Concordia

Lavish Public Spaces Aboard M/V Costa Concordia

Unparalleled Comfort From Which To Watch The Scenery Pass M//V Costa Concordia


Sports of All Kinds OnM//V Costa Concordia

Luxury In The Main Pool of M//V Costa Concordia - With Jumbotron Entertainment

The Spa Is King Size For M//V Costa Concordia

 The Water Slide of M//V Costa Concordia -- Passengers Would Soon Experience A Dark Version of This Novedlty


M/V Costa Concordia

January 13 2012 -- The Incident

M/V Costa Concordia Cabin Service Director, 57-year-old Manrico Giampetroni Welcomes Passengers To A Magical Cruise.

He Was Discovered In An Air Pocket In A Flooded Restaurant, 2 Days After The Incident.

He Was Winched To Safety With A Suspected Broken Leg,

The Passenger Dreams & Crew Aspirations Were Over -- The Capsize of M/V Costa Concordia Had Begun

All of This For A Publicity Stunt

Two Hours From Her Origin Port -- There Is Fear & Panic Among The Passengers

No Assistance From The Crew

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 13 2012
114,147-grt cruise ship M/V Costa Concordia (built 2006), with approximately 4,200 passengers and crew, ran aground and subsequently rolled onto its side off the Italian island of Giglio on Jan. 13. 15 people confirmed killed and an estimated 20 others are not accounted for. The vessel was sailing on a cruise across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo. At 2030GMT, 2.5 hrs after leaving the port of Civitavecchia (near Rome), the vessel hit a rock as it sailed past the island of Giglio.

As the vessel took on water, Capt Francesco Schettino attempted to turn the vessel towards the island. The vessel began listing severely to starboard. At 2110GMT, the abandon ship signal was given. There had not yet been an emergency drill. Some of the passengers and crew were forced to swim for land as the angle of the ship made boarding life boats impossible. Capt. Schettino said the rocks were not marked on maps and were not detected by navigation systems.

The ship's owners, Costa Cruises, said the Capt. had made an "unapproved, unauthorised" deviation in course, sailing too close to the island in order to show the ship to locals. Automatic tracking systems show the route of the Costa Concordia until it ran aground. The ship made the same journey through the strait on 6 January this year, but sailed much further from the island, according to positioning information provided by Lloyd's List. Investigators have located the "black box" system similar to those used by aircraft, that record voices on the bridge, as well as radar position and other data, which they hope will explain how the incident happened.

The Capt. is accused of, among other things, abandoning his ship prior to full evacuation. He and the first officer, Ciro Ambrosio, are being detained and are anticipated to be charged. In a profit warning on Jan. 16, Carnival -- parent company of Costa Cruises -- predicted the casualty will leave it between $85m and $95m short in the 2012 fiscal year. The Standard Club is the claims lead with the risk shared with Steamship Mutual on a quota share basis. The vessel's cover has a deductible of approximately $30m and the company has third party personal injury insurance with a $10m deductible. Loss of use is covered by the company itself. Several firms have been commissioned to assess salvage. [16/17/23-1-2012] Click here for futher coverage.


Life Rafts Had No Chance of Launching, As Some Passengers Were Forced To Climb Down 50 Foot Rope Ladders To Waiting Coast Guard Launches

Passenger Cabins Take A Vertical Plunge

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

Where M/V Costa Concordia Hit Isola del Giglio


This Is The Most Expensive Rock In World History

Far More Expensive Than Either The Hope Diamond Or The Crown Jewels - This Rock May Cost Upwards of US$1Bn


Capt Francesco Schettino: The Most Currently Hated Man In Italy

Some Reports Call This Man "Chicken of The Sea"


Editor Note

For our regular readers, you realize we are busy publishing the January edition of The Cargo Letter. When this major effort is concluded this week, we have many informative stories to relate to you for this epic loss of M/V Costa Concordia.

No humor is intended by the title of this feature. This is a tragedy.


Shippers Must Have Quality Marine Cargo Insurance ........ Because......... "Ship Happens! ©"

To Repeat -- No Matter How Careful You Are -- Or Who You Hire ....... "Ship Happens! ©"

Get Your "Ship Happens! ©" Gear!

Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store For Great Industry Gift Ideas!

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The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To The Crew of M/V Costa Concordia, Her Passengers And Their Families.

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by air & sae continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker

It's very dangerous out there.



Some of Our Fire At Sea Features:
"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

M/T Vicuna Explodes - for Jan. 2005

"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of the M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania Loss - Nov. 2002

"Thar She Blows!" - M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania - Nov. 2002

"Meals: Ready To Explode" - Navy Barbecue at Guam June 2001

And ..... "Fighting Fires On Mars" - Jan. 2008

Our Daily Vessel Casualties - stay informed

"Singles Only" - visit our individual moments of transport crisis for more.

The Greatest Container Losses Of All Time - these are the grand fathers -

M/V OOCL America

M/V APL China

M/V APL Panama - The EPIC

"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. 

It's very dangerous out there.

Thanks To Our Contributors For The "Costa Lot" Feature

Our Contributor for this feature is:
The Cargo Letter appreciates the continuing efforts of these valued contributors.


NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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The Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel

Eleventh Floor LAX Airport Center

5933 West Century Boulevard

Los Angeles, California, 90045

(310) 342-6500 Voice

(310) 342-6505 Fax


to The Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel


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