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Last Updated On: 1/25/2012

The Costa Concordia will leave a foul taste in cruise history; not so much because of the unnecessary deaths as the absolute disgust of the captain's choices.  This disaster is already reshaping safety issues and how authority is managed in crisis situations. 

In Port Safety Check

The muster is required by the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at SeaThis drill is called the muster, and it is to take place no more than 24 hours after a ship has left the port. This drill consists of the passengers going back to their cabin, locating the life jacket, and coming back to the meeting area.  Here they will be shown how to wear a life jacket, and be given a brief on safety.  The crew also does a check to make sure every single person is attending the meeting when everyone comes back.  This meeting lasts between 30 and 45 minutes.

The Costa Concordia's muster was not scheduled until the following day, and the disaster happened a few hours after departure.  Several cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Crystal Cruises, Oceana Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas have decided to have the muster performed on the day of departure. 

Had the muster been performed on the Costa Concordia, while it was in port, who knows how many lives it would have saved. 

Absolute Authority

Jame Loy, Special to CNN and Ex-Coast Guard Chief says, "A modern sea captain is provided with all kinds of resources. He is given extraordinary training for the challenges of the waters he is in and the vessel he is commanding. He is given extraordinary electronic gadgetry that allows him to fix his position on the globe within inches. He receives all sorts of input information -- weather reports, charts detailing virtually every hazard in his area of operation, and detailed information on pathways to take and pathways to avoid -- all of which arm him to make good judgments as to where he is going."

Obviously, with all that training and technology at Captain Schettino's disposal, the safety of the ship he commanded and the many lives at stake were not an issue to him.  According to a translated conversation between the Coast Guard, Commander Defalco and Schettino, the fact that it was dark, his second mate was with him, and the lifeboat had stopped, and there were other rescuers was good enough for the captain to not go back despite a very angry Defalco ordering him to find out how many people there were and what they needed.

Absolute authority of the ship captain is coming under scrutiny, and it will be changing the future of management on deck if the captain refuses or is unable to fulfill his duties and responsibilities.

The Future of a Cruise Ship

A stop sign on a busy street had caused so much grief for parents whose children walked home.  It was when a really bad tragedy happened that the Mayor finally agreed to install a stoplight instead.  Unfortunately, the Costas Concordia tragedy will finally force the change of maritime law.  This new stoplight will save lives.

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