January 18, 2012

Preliminary Analysis of How The Costa Concordia May Have Went Down

The CNN story is a good preliminary analysis of what may have happened causing the ship to list and ultimately list and then sink. The significant fact is that had there been a prompt assessment of the ship damage the evacuation could have occurred long before it became so difficult for the lifeboats to be boarded and launched. The analysis demonstrates there should have been more than adequate time to have everyone evacuated from the ship before it filled with water, listed, and began sinking.

It would seem once there was any evidence of a hole below the waterline that orders should have been given for all passengers to go on deck and get ready to abandon ship. The investigators will come up with a similar analysis to determine the reasons for the seeming delay in the order to abandon the Costa Concordia.

Contact a Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Accident attorney for more information by clicking here.

Cnn.com Breaking News: 

Tom Foreman:  Take a look at what was happening at the time of this happening.  They are sailing off the coast of Tuscany.  They just started out.  They’re only about four hours in, somewhere in that area, when they hit a rock.  It’s nighttime, and they sail on, initially, apparently with some idea of getting to a port or doing something else.  Instead, they move on for some distance and begin to turn.  If they had started evacuating at the very moment that they sensed that they had a problem out here, according to industry standards, in about 30-minutes time, they should have had everyone off of this ship.

Now, I want to stress to you the size of this vessel because that’s important.  This is about 2 ½ to 3-football fields in length.  It is much, much bigger than the Titanic.  About twice as many people were on board at the time that this happened between all of the passengers and the crew.  So, you had a whole city moving on the water here, as you’ve often heard it described; it’s very accurate.  Nonetheless, they made this turn and then they had to deal with the reality of what had happened to them. 

Yes, ships like this are designed with watertight compartments, which are supposed to keep them afloat, even after some accidents.  But, very much like the Titanic, as people have been noting all day, this appears to have made a rip down the side of the ship, which could have affected many more than one compartment and created a problem; a big rip down the side.  You see some details there.  Here’s some more here.  Look at how huge this is.  It was probably traveling about 16-18 miles an hour, after you converted out of knots at the time of the impact, so you can see that the impact is really quite enormous here.  But look at the ship itself.  They have eleven different layers here before you get to these top ones up here.  This is a cross section of it.  This, truly, is a tremendous amount of space and consider what was going on. 

Right now, this is where the ship stands if you were on the top deck and you could go inside. Judging from the photographs, you’d have water covering about this much of the deck up here.  As you move down, though, and you start getting into the first areas of cabins, you can see that it’s heavier in here, heavier in here.  At one end of this, once you move a little bit further down, you get into many more cabins with a lot more water down here.  Remember, people were trying to get out of here in the dark and, initially, without being told that they had to get off the ship.  That’s what we’re told, at least, at this point.  And the further down in the ship you go, you can see how the water now is occupying much more of the area.  Get down into this area where there is actually is theatre in this ship that goes over three stories down here, that theatre is now probably completely under water.  There was a casino in here.  There were many restaurants down here.  Many people were dining at the time, we’re told.  This area is completely under water, and by the time you work all the way down to the lowest cabins in here, Wolf.  Look at this, right now; you’re talking about all of these cabins, all in here, on the bottom decks, being completely submerged at this point or, at least, very, very close to it.  This is essentially the problem, Wolf.  Everyone went into dark.  There were language problems.  There were a lot of people on a ship that had just started sailing, so even though they’re required to have safety drills in the first 24 hours, it’s not clear yet whether they had one.  It doesn’t seem that they did.  It was going to happen the next morning, we believe, so the simple truth is, time started passing from the time they hit, there was no clear order for everyone to evacuate, and things got worse from that point and this is where we stand at this point, Wolf.  A lot of quest ions,  A lot of damage, and I know there are a lot of stories for investigators to collect from all these people on board to say, “What went wrong?”

Wolf Blitzer: Yeah.  I’ve heard some say, Tom.  You say the ship was much bigger than the Titanic.  I heard one report.  It was three times as big as the Titanic. Is that the information you’re getting? 

Tom Foreman:  It could be. I don’t know exactly, in terms of weight, maybe.  But in terms of passengers, it had about twice as many.  The Titanic went down with, I think, 2100-2200 on it, something like that; about 1500 perished in the Titanic.  In this case, you had a little over 4,000 people, 1,000 of those being crew, on board at the time, if I’m correct in my numbers on all that.  So, this really is an awful lot of people.  And think about it, Wolf.  If you were in any big shopping mall and the lights suddenly just went out, and there were no clear instructions, think of what would happen as people tried to figure out what to do in the next half hour.  Do they leave? Do they stay?  And that’s with nothing changing.  And as the boat shifts like this, all sorts of things, like the ability to deploy lifeboats and everything else, gets affected by that process.  The longer you wait, the more it’s affected, and the more people are stumbling around in the dark with increasing fear, increasing panic. 

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