End of a long-drawn-out death

Readers will recall the saga of the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the Italian coast in 2012.  It was raised from its watery grave in 2014, in what turned out to be the largest and most complex marine salvage operation in history, and towed to Genoa, where dismantling began.

The Ship Recycling Consortium has announced the completion of their task of scrapping the Costa Concordia.

Less than three years have passed since the arrival of the Concordia wreck in Genoa, on July 27th 2014. Below some of the most significant numbers of this project since the beginning of the operations:

  • Workforce employed: up to 350
  • Total effective hours worked: approximately 1 million
  • Companies and suppliers involved: 78 (98% of them are Italian)
  • Total recycled material: approximately 90%, equal to over 53,000 tons for almost 4,000 trips to recycling facilities in Italy
  • Total dismantled material: 8,000 tons with over 850 trips to dismantling facilities.

There’s more at the link.

It’s a sad farewell to a ship that should never have sunk, but for the tragic and criminally stupid actions of her Captain.  He began serving a 16-year prison sentence for his crimes in May.



  1. 16 years is rather lenient given that he tried to abandon ship before his passengers and crew were off the ship, and there was loss of life.

  2. Cruise ship captains are not hired for their ability. They must be handsome, well-spoken and urbane. The real work is carried out by the Staff captain, the bald, fat, harried and unhappy prole who looks over the master's shoulder to fill the gaps.

    Making a single error in judgement can happen, and while it's lamentable and always worth studying, to me, it's more important to look at the aftermath. Any one of us can make bad decisions. How we comport ourselves after the fact speaks to our character more than the error itself.

    Compare Captain Shittino's actions, abandoning his ship and his charges, with that of another captain who made a single fateful mistake, the late master of the El Faro. If you ever listen to the voice recording from the bridge, it's absolutely heartbreaking. He stayed on the bridge to the last, and when the ship rolled suddenly, and the lookout was too afraid to try to reach a rope and climb to the bridge wing door, the captain chose to stay with the man and encourage him to try to save himself, rather than abandon him, and in the end, died faithfully, doing his job.

  3. Damn. Compare the two men that Quartermaster and Paul speak of.
    Well, one man, anyway…

    Here's another.

    One of our ships had an extremely hazardous trans-Atlantic crossing one winter. The Captain later told me that in 30 years of service, this crossing was the only time he had ever described the sea state as "Phenomenal", which is an official classification of wave heights over 14 meters.
    Yes, meters… not metres… 🙂

    The 2nd Officer told me the following about the Captain.

    The ship was caught in two winter storms, and took a large amount of damage. The crew was pretty much terrified, so much that they went about their duties dressed in their Gumby suits, just knowing they would be swamped at any minute.

    The Captain, equally terrified, deliberately did not dress in a suit, but instead stayed at the bridge console, leading from in front by maintaining a calm exterior.

    At one point, the bridge windows were smashed in by the waves, the bridge was instantly flooded up to about mid-calf, and almost all of the bridge instruments lost power for a while, but the Captain, even knowing the end could come at any minute, kept his station and directed repairs.

    Some of crew members later privately let the 2nd Officer know that the only thing preventing them from launching the lifeboats and rafts, and orders be damned, was seeing the Captain holding his station like that.

    The ship was a 90-meter oil search ship called Ocean Explorer, the trip was Norway to Texas, the year was probably late 2001, and the Captain's first name was Bjorn. I can't remember his last name, or I'd surely print it here.

    Now THAT is a Captain.

    – Charlie

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