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Reports concerning Costa Concordia (owned by Carnival Corporation in the US), lying on her side about 250 metres from the Italian island of Giglio, keep pouring in. The gaping 70 -100 metre hole in its hull, still with a torn off rock in the middle of the gash, beggars belief. Reports of six dead and two dozen missing – where will it end?  Although one must not jump to quick conclusions, the captain is under arrest and the first officer is being questioned by police.

It appears human error is the culprit with some reports indicating that the Captain was “showing off” to friends on shore.

With several officers on the bridge and the latest state-of-the-art equipment, how could this happen?

Some of the frightening aspects of this disaster are that it appears no lifeboat drills were carried out before leaving port. Apparently no, or little, direction from crew relating to evacuation proceedings was given.  To me, one of the most glaring errors in shipboard design was that electronic keycards did not work in the doors leading to individual cabins when the power went off.  Passengers were locked in or out of their cabins.

The only positive is that there will surely be a complete rethink on ships’ safety procedures. Fortunately the ship was less than 300 metres away from the shore, otherwise, I believe, the death toll would have been much higher.

One troubling report suggests that there was no distress call made from the ship.  It has also been reported that the $600 million ship will be a complete write off.

While speculation is rampant no doubt more facts will come to light when the black box is decoded.