One year ago today, in the late evening just off Giglio Island, Italy, the Costa Concordia ran upon a reef, gashing a hole in its side. In less than two hours, it lay dead, at least 30 people had also died, and a half billion dollar ship lay in ruins, with a 300 million dollar salvage plan in the future.
One year after the wreck, some things have changed, some have not, and we still face a long salvaging process for the ship.
What follows is the one year update on what's happened since that night:
- Death Toll - 30 bodies were recovered from the ship. Two other passengers, Maria Grazia Trecarichi and crew member Russel Rebello have not been found and are presumed dead.
- Life boat drills - An immediate change was implemented after it was learned the Concordia sailed without life boat drills taking place. Less than a month after the tragedy, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) adopted new policies, making a pre-departure safety drill obligatory.
- Salvage operation - It was initially thought the ship would be salvaged and moved early in 2013. Two companies (Titan Salvage and Micoperi) are working together to complete the operation, and just before Christmas it was announced it will probably be September of 2013 before the operation is complete. You can keep an eye on the activities with the Giglio webcam.
- Lawsuits - Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Costa. Although a waiver signed by passengers limited their ability to sue parent corporation Carnival, some lawyers are trying to maneuver higher up in the company chain to get to the massive cruise corporation. One lawsuit alleges a design flaw in the Concordia contributed to the accident.
- Schettino & other crew charges - Prosecutors have charged Captain Francesco Schettino with multiple murders, leaving his ship and even crimes against the environment. They have said in the past he could face up to 2700 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He is expected to be indicted soon. Meanwhile, Captain Schettino has filed suit against Costa Cruise Lines for wrongful dismissal after they fired him. Seven crew members face possible legal charges due to the wreck.
- Cruise lines and the stock market - There were several immediate impacts on cruise line stocks immediately following the disaster. Carnival stock (CCL) dropped on the average of 15% the day after the disaster, with rival Royal Caribbean (RCC) dropping about 7%. Carnival principal owner Micky had seen his personal worth drop over a billion dollars in 2011, and this continued after the disaster. Carnival profits were down 93% in the quarter following the disaster, a figure brought on by the shipwreck and rising fuel costs. Carnival stock is now trading at $37.03 as of this publication, up from the $29.60 the first trading day after the disaster a year ago.
Salvage operations continue, so do the legal wranglings, and people continue to put their lives back together.
As best they can.
One year later.
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