So last night Channel 4 aired a documentary about the recent sinking of the Costa Concordia and tried to explain to us the viewers just how it sank. Although not something you can sit and shout about it was a very interesting programme and the footage really did bring home how terrible of a tragedy this was but how it could also have been easily avoided.
One expert to provide his opinion was Prof Ed Galea, director of the Fire Safety Engineering Group at the University of Greenwich. Everything this man said was what I am sure many of us have been thinking and also saying. The fact that Muster drills quite obviously need addressed BEFORE the ship leaves port. The fact that we rely on the ship being up-right in order to safely lower the lifeboats. Just listening to what this man had to say and sitting for a moment and thinking about it really made me feel in all honesty we haven’t come that far in safety innovation since the sinking of the Titanic.
Think about it for a second. It is the modern day, our cruise ships are huge some are in fact colossal but they all harbour the same flaw. If the vessel is not upright then how exactly do you lower the lifeboats? Think of the winch system, it extends out then across it really doesn’t have an option to go any other way. I have sat pondering this since last night and although I will be the first to say YES cruise ships are safe and this incident although tragic should not put you off, some things clearly do need re-addressed when it comes to design.
I think the Muster Drill being adhered too before the ship sets sail is obvious, it should really go without saying and I am un-impressed that not all cruise line’s stick to this and, in-fact wait until up to 24 hours after the ship has sailed before holding this exercise. I think it clearly goes to show this in some cases could be seriously too late.
The footage shown on the Channel 4 documentary was some of which I had not previously seen. It really did hit hard when footage shot from a leaving lifeboat caught the essence of what it must have been like. The ship was clearly under water. The deck level much closer to the water line than usual and many cabin windows were clearly submerged. For a split second it really did remind me of a scene from the movie Titanic.
I think it is fair to say we all send prayers to those still missing, we all sending comforting thoughts to the families of loved ones lost but, we all also especially within the cruise community grieve for the loss of such a magnificent vessel.