As the one year anniversary of the Costa Concordia disaster approaches, the ship still sits partially submerged in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Both the investigation and recovery efforts remain ongoing. Despite those vigorous efforts by over 450 salvage/ workers, the removal of the wreckage has been delayed at least three times since the accident on January 13, 201. Originally, it was planned for the summer of 2012; plans are now point towards later this year, at the end of the summer or early fall.
On Sunday a memorial will be held on the island of Giglio to honor the 32 people killed after the ship ran aground and tipped over off the coast of this small island in Italy. Correspondence sent to some of the survivors regarding the memorial has stirred up controversy. A letter from Costa Cruises advised them that they were not invited to the memorial, citing “logistical impossibilities” to make room for everyone.
Several lawsuits are pending; families of the victims are suing Costa’s parent company, Miami-based Carnival Corporation. Even the captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, has filed a lawsuit against Costa for wrongful termination, as he awaits trial on numerous criminal charges, including manslaughter and abandoning ship.
The effects of the Costa Concordia disaster are far-reaching. Thousands of passengers continue to deal with the mental and emotional impact of the tragedy. Tourism in Giglio has dropped by nearly 30 percent since the accident.
The cruise industry took a significant hit soon after the tragedy; however, several new safety measures has been instituted (three of which has been drafted into maritime law). Some of these changes included more requirements for ships to conduct muster drills before the ship embarks on a sailing. It’s important to note that while these new safety measures have been adopted by most cruise line companies, many of them are not official rules – resulting in growing fear that these new changes will be neglected or abandoned over time.
Two salvage companies are working in a joint venture to recover the Concordia. The ship has been deemed a total loss, and will eventually be towed to an Italian dry dock and taken apart. Preparations for the removal have been extensive, and include a platform under the water that will be used to stabilize the ship after it’s rolled over. In addition, several giant anchor points have been planted and will have cables attached to it; it’ll be used for the actually rolling over of the ship.
Cruise ships still pass the island of Giglio, unintentionally providing passengers with a grim view of a doomed voyage. Since the disaster, some tourists that visit the area come with the sole purpose of seeing the partially sunken ship.
A mass will be held on Sunday to honor the victims as part of the memorial, which will start around sunrise.
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