While the Italians (and the world media) are running around cackling about the hapless captain who is said to have shipwrecked the Costa Concordia, and while the ship's owners pile on and so far have escaped close scrutiny for the egregious lack of crew safety training, here comes a video (below) from last year that raises a great big question:
Was the Costa Concordia's evidently nitwitted captain following precedent when he sailed too close to the island of Giglio? The ship's owner, Costa Cruises (a subsidiary of Carnival Corp.) has said that it never previously passed any closer than 1,640 feet from the island. But that seems not to be the case.
It now transpires that last Aug. 14, the ship sailed within 754 feet of the island, where the nighttime festival of San Lorenzo was being celebrated. With its lights blazing and fog horn blaring, the huge liner was quite a sight for the party crowds on the island. On that occasion, the ship was even closer to Giglio than it was when it hit the rocks and capsized.
Along with questions about how often that ship sailed between maintenance rests (it appears to be very often), the question of whether the ship and the captain had been authorized to sail into close-up waters to entertain the islanders and tourists now needs to be answered. Not just by the captain, but by the ship's owners.