Last month we reflected on two different tragedies, which seemed to have common themes – large loss of life but relatively little media coverage – in the shape of the Empress of Ireland disaster and the capsizing of the South Korean ferry. Recently, another maritime tragedy has been in the news, that of Costa Concordia and the extraordinary salvage operation that has now been concluded. The amount of media coverage given to her recovery has been considerable to say the least, as the long-drawn-out saga has played in the glare not only of national and international TV stations, but also on social media.

As well as the amount of media attention Costa Concordia has received, several points are worth mentioning regarding the incident. First, for a ship carrying over 4,000 people, the number of lives lost when she stranded was, thankfully, relatively small. Second, despite modern navigation aids and safety features, human error can never be eliminated, and the basic errors made by Concordia’s captain were the cause of her demise.

Third, the salvage operation to remove the wreck from the Island of Giglio has been remarkable in its complexity and execution, and has itself become the focus of the tragedy. And finally, despite the largely negative coverage of the incident and its aftermath, the cruise industry itself seems largely unaffected by what happened. Cruise companies continue to expand, new cruise ships are ordered, and in every issue we report on new ships entering the industry.



Nicholas Leach


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