by John Hooper
Kindle Single (e-book)
Barely two months after the Costa Concordia proved no ship is unsinkable, John Hooper has written a Kindle Single that pieces together the tragedy and highlights facts lost in the eagerness to throw in the brig Captain Francesco Schettino, who abandoned his ship while passengers were still on board. The ship's operator, Costa Cruises, the Italian arm of Anglo-American Carnival, will have been relieved there was no environmental catastrophe on top of the 17 lives lost: the salvage operation included removing 2,400 tonnes of fuel from tanks. One question that remains is why the ship, which had performed a similar sail-past before (although at 500 metres from shore), chanced it at 230 metres, by a half-deserted island, at night and in winter. Hooper also points out that the manoeuvre was to salute a man Schettino had not seen in years, and was not even there at the time. Mariners have explained that the belief a captain must remain with his ship to the end belongs more to legend than law. Cruise fans will note with interest that travelling by boat is almost twice as safe as flying.