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This Day in History

World History

Friday, January 13, 2012. :   Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, runs aground near shore, killing 32.

     The cruise ship Costa Concordia, built in Italy in 2004, was launched in September 2005 and delivered to Costa Costa Crociere, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, in June 2006, at a cost of 450 million Euros. The ship was 290.20 metres long, had a beam of 35.50 m, and boasted thirteen decks. A luxury ship, the Costa Concordia had 1500 cabins, four swimming pools, five restaurants, five jacuzzis, five spas, casino, disco, a tri-level theatre and a poolside movie theatre on the main pool deck.

The Costa Concordia departed Civitavecchia, Italy at 21:18 local time on 13 January 2012 for a 7-night cruise, with over 4000 passengers and crew on board. Shortly afterwards, at 21:45, it hit a rock off Isola del Giglio, after making an unauthorised deviation from its planned route. The Captain, Francesco Schettino, ordered the ship to be steered close to the island to show the locals. The collision created a 53 metre long gouge in the port side hull along 3 compartments of the engine room. After power to the engines and ship services was cut off, the ship began to take on water, finally rolling over onto its starboard side, where it lay atop an underwater rocky ledge, from where it was feared it could sink into deeper water. At 22:54, Captain Schettino gave the order to evacuate. Many passengers escaped in lifeboats, a procedure rendered difficult by the angle of the listing ship. Rescue crews were quickly despatched, but 300 passengers remained aboard after both the captain and the second master abandoned the vessel. 32 passengers perished, with two not being found until some time after the rescue operations ended.

Costa Concordia was officially declared a "constructive total loss" by the insurance company, while Captain Schettino was later charged with failing to describe to maritime authorities the scope of the disaster, and for abandoning incapacitated passengers. The parbuckle salvage of the ship was undertaken in the largest salvage operation of its kind to date, and the Costa Concordia was set upright on 17 September 2013. In July the following year, the vessel was refloated and towed to Genoa, where the dismantling process began.

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