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The Cost of Concordia - The Novelization Pt. 1: The Incident

*sigh* "The Costa Concordia - ship of dreams. It's been [i]nine years."[/i]

"I can still smell the buffets from their five restaurants..."

"The casino and three-story theater had hardly been used..."
"Ah, the gym..."
"The day spa..."
"The sheets in her 1500 luxurious cabins hadn't even been slept in."

"Costa Concordia cost $570 million to build, and you could tell. You could [i]really[/i] tell..."

"I remember it like it was just a few years ago. We had left Civitavecchia - a port in Rome - and we were making our way to Savona. It was day two of our seven-day journey."

"But that ship... Aye, she was [big][c=BF0000]CURSED![/c][/big]"


[quote]When the Costa Concordia premiered, the traditional bottle of champagne bounced right off the side rather than smashing - a bad omen.


"But I'm not the superstitious type! Nothing could go wrong on Friday the 13th of January 2012 on the 100th year anniversary of the Titanic; on a ship that's also safety-rated for two compartment flooding. Especially not when you have a five-star max level captain like Francesco Schettino!"

[quote]Schettino curiously rose from head of security to the position of captain within just a couple of years. In 2006, he was given command of the Costa Concordia. Schettino had a history of incompetence preceding him.

In 2008, he caused damage the Costa Concordia's bow when he crashed into a port in Sicily. Though this was attributed to high winds pushing the ship against the dock, but even if that's true, it still doesn't look good on Schettino's record.

And in 2010, in Warnemünde, Germany, Schettino was captaining the Costa Atlantica and pulled into port too fast and caused a collision with another ship. [/quote]


[b]January 13, 2012[/b]

It's a beautiful evening. People are having fun on the slides, drinks at the bar, Antonio Magnotta is playing piano at the restaurant, Martin the Magician is setting up for his show, and the ship is setting up for a little detour.

It's called a sail-by salute. Basically, you get real close to the shore and honk the horn. It's usually performed for a crewmember's relative (in this case, the maître d's sister.) The locals hate it, but the customers love it and it's a tradition.

Captain Schettino comes into the dining hall with a lady - Domnica Cemortan (not his wife.) Schettino eats his dinner with her and socializes for a little while. Then he, Domnica and the maître d' finish up and excuse themselves. They're heading to the bridge. It's time for that sail-by salute. This time, they're going to get closer than ever - just 1500 feet (457 m) from the island Giglio. To determine this distance, the captain is going to eyeball it.

[b]FRIDAY 09:34:36 PM[/b]

Schettino turns to the helmsman - Jacob Rusli Bin.


[quote]On Jacob Rusli Bin, Costa Cruises hired him from Indonesia at a very low price and he was a total newcomer to the job. His previous jobs were as a painter and a cleaner. This was his first time steering a massive ship. However, he doesn't speak English or Italian very well at all. This language barrier would become extremely problematic later.[/quote]

[b]FRIDAY 09:36:02 PM[/b]

The second-in-command orders the helmsman to 290.


[quote]Don't be confused by these numbers, they're just the degrees on a compass.


[b]FRIDAY 09:37:11[/b]

The captain whips out his cell phone and calls the former captain Mario Palombo who lives on the island. They chat about the safe distance to Giglio's shores. It's all very casual.

[b]FRIDAY 09:38:37 PM[/b]

Mario says that the safe distance is between .03 and .04 miles from shore.

[b]FRIDAY 09:39:14 PM[/b]

The captain is going all in. This is not his first sail-by salute so he's confident in what he's doing.

[b]FRIDAY 09:39:30 PM[/b]

The captain's eyeballing it again. "New heading of 300." he tells the helmsman.

Meanwhile downstairs, Martin is about to cut his assistant in half. Of course, that means there's already another lady inside one of the boxes onstage. She's waiting for the cue and then she'll poke her legs out.

[b]FRIDAY 09:40:00 PM[/b]

The captain is giving more orders. "Pulling gently to 310. Increase speed to 16 knots."


[quote]Going that fast is going to be a fatal error. But before we talk about that, remember when I said the language barrier with the helmsman would become problematic? You're about to see why next. [/quote]


[b]FRIDAY 09:40:48 PM[/b]

At this point, the captain says "325," but the helmsman relays "315," so the first officer intervenes and he goes "No, no, no, 3[u]3[/u]5," which is also wrong. Then the captain clarifies "No, 3[u]2[/u]5." The helmsman confirms 325.


[quote]Their poor communication has them moving at a much wider angle than they think they are. However, the captain should and would know this except for the next problem: complacency about procedure. The standard procedure of a ship as large as the Costa Concordia is for the third officer to give exact positional coordinates every time the captain gives a new directional order, but they're not doing that.[/quote]


The captain says "330," the helmsman relays 330.

[b]FRIDAY 09:42:07 PM[/b]

The ship reaches 16 knots. The captain then turns to the second officer and instructs him to go to the left wing.


[quote]Bridge wings are narrow walkways extending from either side of a pilot house, allowing for personnel to get a better view to aid in maneuvering the ship.



[b]FRIDAY 09:43:00 PM[/b]

This is where the mood starts to turn. Schettino notices white foam of waves breaking against the rocks directly in front of him in the distance. The Costa Concordia right now is almost 700 meters closer to the rocks than it should be. Without deviation, there is going to be a direct collision.

[b]FRIDAY 09:43:08 PM[/b]

Schettino immediately commands the ship to start turning away "335."

[b]FRIDAY 09:43:33 PM[/b]

Not enough. The captain shouts "340!"

[b]FRIDAY 09:43:44 PM[/b]

The captain yells "350!"


[quote]Now remember how I said accelerating to 16 knots was a fatal error? Well, that's because it's made the ship incapable of such a drastic turn.

So despite the order of 350, the bow is still only pointing at 327. Not nearly enough to miss the rock and it's about to get worse: that language barrier again.[/quote]


In these critical moments where every second counts, the helmsman wrongly relays 340. The captain snaps back "350, starboard or we end up on the rocks!" The third officer goes to assist the helmsman.


[quote]Now don't get confused by the orders from here. We're changing over to rudder instructions.



[b]FRIDAY 09:44:11 PM[/b]

The captain yells "starboard 10!"

[b]FRIDAY 09:44:15 PM[/b]

"Starboard 20!" And still, it's not enough.

[b]FRIDAY 09:44:20 PM[/b]

"Hard to starboard!" (that means as hard as it will go.)


[quote]At this point, even if they clear the rocks, they need to get the rest of the ship to swing around it.[/quote]


[b]FRIDAY 09:44:36 PM[/b]

The captain yells "Midship!" Which centers the rudder. The bow is now 150 meters from the rocks.

[b]FRIDAY 09:44:43 PM[/b]

"Port 10!" The captain shouts, but the helmsman only gets to port 5 before another order is given two seconds later. "Port 20!"

They might just avoid disaster here. Maybe.

But then, one more time, the helmsman cоcks up at the [i]worst possible moment.[/i] The helmsman goes to starboard instead of port, undoing the swing. Eight seconds later, he realizes the error and corrects, but it's too late. He has just turned a probable near-miss into a sure hit. All they can do now is hold on as the bow narrowly passes by the rocks.


[quote]Simulations show that if this hadn't happened, the ship would have missed the rocks by 10 meters or at least flooded only one compartment. This is uncannily similar to what happened with the Titanic in that had they simply steered away from the iceberg instead of doing a port around, the Titanic might have missed the iceberg with feet to spare. [/quote]


[b]FRIDAY 09:45:05 PM[/b]

"Hard to port!"

[b]FRIDAY 09:45:06 PM[/b]

The second officer yells "We're gonna hit!"

[b]FRIDAY 09:45:07 PM[/b]



The ships hits rocks on the port side. A 53 meter gash opens up in the hull and thousands of tons of water begin pouring in. A loud scraping and bang is heard by all passengers. At the helm is panic. Rumblings in the dining room. Martin awkwardly pauses his act as he's helping his assistant into the box. Meanwhile, the lady inside is trapped, terrified. There's confusion across the ship. All of the crew off shift come back on duty. All officers run to the bridge, technical crews run down to the lower decks to assess damage. On connection with the rocks, they lose propulsion and slow to 8.4 knots and they are now adrift.

[b]FRIDAY 09:45:33 PM[/b]

The captain orders "Close the watertight doors at stern!"

Enormous volumes of water are pouring in. So much so that within 29 seconds of collision, all six engines stop working through flooding.

[b]FRIDAY 09:45:45 PM[/b]

A blackout happens. Lights, electrics, water pumps too. Everything.

[b]FRIDAY 09:46:01 PM[/b]

The captain orders the helmsman "Hard to starboard." This is the final position to the rudder before power to that too is lost.

The Costa Concordia, now without power, is drifting starboard plunged into absolute darkness.



A quick breakdown of the flooding. When the Costa Concordia struck land, it tore open three watertight compartments. At first compartment five, which filled very rapidly. Then six, more slowly. Four shortly after. Then seven, eight and three. Modern ships are built to withstand two compartment breeches. Compartments five, six and seven especially though are a problem because they contain the engines and the electrics. These main generators give power to the whole ship from propulsion motors, to rudder, to hotel functions. Pretty much everything. When they went out, the ship was a functionless sinking cage.[/quote]


[b]FRIDAY 09:46:03 PM[/b]

A few seconds later, the emergency batteries for internal lighting and communications kick off. When the lights come back on, Martin has vanished! He flipped open the latch as he did, allowing the lady in the box to escape. With Martin having ditched the stage, it caused a huge panic in the theater as passengers are trying to get to their cabins and to muster stations. People already in their cabins come out and start putting on life vests. Staff rally and try to calm everyone down.

[b]FRIDAY 09:46:05 PM[/b]

The emergency generator starts.

[b]FRIDAY 09:46:16 PM[/b]

The captain yells "Shut all the watertight doors, immediately!"

[b]FRIDAY 09:46:54 PM[/b]

All of the watertight doors in the engine room close except for door 12, which is jammed.


[quote]Door 12 jamming caused major problems as water could continue to flow between the engine room and the electrical compartment.[/quote]


[b]FRIDAY 09:49:17 PM[/b]

The captain calls the chief engineer as the ship begins to list (lean or tilt toward one side) on the portside.

Captain: "There's water coming?" 😯
Chief engineer: "Yes, there's water." 😰
Captain: "But where?" 😯
Chief engineer: "The engine room." 😰
Captain: "But a lot of water?" 😯
Chief engineer: "... Yes!" 😠
Chief engineer (to an electrician): "There's water, you can't go down. Let's go down the other side."
Engineer (back to captain): "In a moment, we'll start the pumps. I'll let you know."

[b]FRIDAY 09:53:24 PM[/b]

In the theater, the whole magic box apparatus slides right off the stage and falls into the crowd, further increasing panic.

On the bridge, an announcement is being prepared.


[quote][center][big]Incase of
[big]L[/big] - [b]Lie[/b] to prevent a panic
[big]I[/big] - [b]Interfere[/b] with rescue
[big]V[/big] - [b]Vindicate[/b] self
[big]E[/big] - [b]Evacuate[/b] first[/quote]


They're going to lie to prevent a panic. The captain says "Let's just say we have a blackout."

[b]FRIDAY 09:55:00 PM[/b]

The deputy chief engineer enters the engine control room. He confirms to the bridge that at least compartments five, six and seven are flooded.

[b]FRIDAY 09:55:10 PM[/b]

The cruise director makes the following announcement for the director's assistant:
"On behalf of the captain we regret to inform you that due to an electrical fault, which is currently under control, we're currently in a blackout. Our technicians are working to resolve the situation, and we'll inform you of developments as they occur. Thank you for your attention."

Coincidentally at the same time, in the restaurant, they're playing "My Heart Will Go On" and it is very much not helping the situation.

[big]To be continued... [/big]
[i]Credit for this goes to Internet Historian, please support the original release on YouTube.[/i]
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200t00 · 46-50, M
where you on it?
[@88597,200t00] Non. Those beginning quotes are from a video.
200t00 · 46-50, M
[@1193712,DarkCarver] thank goodness
it was an avoidable tragedy that a pompous captain wouldn't take responsibility for

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