Disaster of the Sea: Costa Concordia

Reads: 403  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

An informational article, written and edited by the Ghost-Bull, about the heart-breaking disaster of the Costa Concordia, which left 32 dead and 157 injured from aboard, on—Friday—the 13th of 2012

 

Disaster of the Sea

Costa Concordia

 

 

[1-13-2022]

 

Reaching international news, an Italian cruise vessel struck a reef, rarely above the sea, off the eastern shoreline of Isola del Giglio 10 years ago, to be exact. 4,229 lives were on-board, including 3,200 tourists, when Costa Concordia traveled its way into danger. Due to the incident, a report of 32 souls, who were aboard the ship, lost their lives. Totaled to a hundred and 57 were the injured survivors, though 64 had been majorly sustained. Already aware by many, the captain is facing 16 years behind bars, being at fault.

It was Friday, the 13th, and the beginning month of 2012 when the ship took impact from a rock, not very visible, causing a capsize to the ship by unstoppable flooding throughout the lower decks. Impact sheared 2 strips of steel, approximately 50-to-70 meters, wide, leaving a gash port-side of the vessel, below the water-line. By Captain Schettino, the computer navigation and alarm system had been disabled prior to approaching Isola del Giglio, a small island in the Tuscany region of Italy, surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea.

As the sky was pitch-black, the disaster began—Friday night. Francesco Schettino’s action had been of his confidence, claiming to have known the seabed quite well, navigating by sight. He, also, released claims of shutting off the computerized navigation and alarm system numerous times in trips of the past.

Caused by the collision, a loud bang was heard from passengers in the dining hall. Announcements through the intercoms notified of an electrical failure, leaving no emergency or any need to worry. Passengers eventually understood the ship was sinking as rumors came about, creating higher levels of panic. Giving it away was, too, by an incline of the vessel beginning to exist—growing.

Among those who died was a waiter, Russel Terence Rebello, who assisted passengers into life-jackets and life-boats. It is said that he was in his cabin, waking from a nap he took due to feverish symptoms, noticing water flowing beneath his bed. After he realized, his actions were immediate to assist in the evacuation of passengers. The life-vest he wore, he had given to a passenger. The body of Rebello was discovered, years, later by divers—in a passenger cabin of the 8th Deck. From India, he was 33 years of age before his death.

There were 4, others, of the ship’s crew whose lives were snatched from the disaster. Names of the 4 are Erika Fani Soria Molina of Peru, Guiseppe Girolamo of Italy, Sandor Feher of Hungary, and Tomas Alberto Castilla Mendoza of Peru. 2, Feher and Girolamo, were musicians as Molina was a waitress, and Mendoza a custodian supervisor.

Erika Molina was just 25, on her 3rd trip aboard the Costa Concordia. There was a false report of her, seen, jumping into a life-boat, when—in  reality—she was passing her life-jacket to an elderly passenger while gathering passengers into a life-boat. By divers, her body was found on the “Great Britain” deck.

For 17 years, Tomas Mendoza worked under Costa Cruises (Costa Crociere), but as a custodian supervisor before his death. He was aged between 49 and 50 the night of the disaster. Falling into the freezing-cold sea, his life was lost, catching hypothermia.

Responsible for their deaths and 27 passengers aboard, Captain Francesco Schettino has been employed with Costa Crociere since, the year, 2002. Born in Castellammare di Stabia, he is an Italian native—reaching 51 the year of the tragical incident. Approximately, Captain Schettino will climb to the age of 70 when he is released from incarceration.

Beginning construction on November 8th of 2004, the Costa Concordia was launched on the 5th of September, 2005, actively serviced no-longer than 6 ½  years prior to her disastrous end. She was built in Sestri Ponente, Italy, by Fincantiere—an Italian shipbuilding group that is the largest in Europe, one of the largest in the world, and is ranked the most diversified on the globe. Her length stretches 290.20(952 feet) meters out, weighing 114,137 ton with a maximum speed of 23 knots (26 M.P.H.).

Each named from a state of Europe, she has 13 decks as “Holland: Deck 1” is the lowest. Up the ladder, begins with “Sweden: Deck 2”, then “Belgium: Deck 3”, “Greece: Deck 4”, “Italy: Deck 5”, “Great Britain: Deck 6”, “Ireland: Deck 7”, “Portugal: Deck 8”, “France: Deck 9”, “Germany: Deck 10”, “Spain: Deck 11”, “Austria: Deck 12”, and “Poland: Deck 13”. The passenger capacity of the vessel is 3,780—of the crew, is 1,100.

The cruise belongs to, what is known as, the “Concordia Class”. Followed—not orderly built—by Carnival Splendor, Costa Fascinosa, Costa Favolosa, Costa Pacifica, and Costa Serena, the Costa Concordia is the first of its class. The Splendor had been marketed to Carnival Cruise Line amid of construction, but, originally to be under Costa Cruises. Each vessel is currently active, except for the Costa Concordia.

The disaster of “Friday, 13th” wouldn’t be the first of the Concordia taking damage. November 22nd of ‘08, she was shoved into a docking area. A great force of wind would be the cause as the ship was located in the city of Palermo, Sicilian region of Italy. Inflicted was damage to the bow, but there were no injuries. Repairs were completed around December of that year.

In the 2012 incident, Captain Francesco Schettino came to a realization of waves breaking at a reef a bit late, turning the ship, which swung the port side of her into it. The reef she struck is a part of, what is known as, “The Scole Rocks”. Sailing her closer to shore was to give a ‘salute’ to mariners, and to provide passengers with a greater view of the island, claimed by the ship’s captain. By others is a different belief, but it will be discussed later, in the article.

The Concordia ported from Civitavecchia, Italy, in route of a 7-day trip to Savona—which is a seaport city in the Liguria region, north-western end of Italy. In-fact, the night she departed from the ‘Port of Civitavecchia’ was the date she faced terror at sea. Though the island was not to be used as a stopping point, she had been 500 meters, out, from the port “Giglio Porto”.

A handful of people, aboard, were described to be heroes, which included a Bulgarian technician of the crew. Of reports, Petar Petrov saved over 500 souls, making 6 trips with a life-boat that carries 150 individuals at once. He would be one of the final 3 crew members to stay with the ship until the operation was controlled by the Coast Guard.

 

Petar Petrov was awarded during a ceremony at Inter Expo Center, on a Monday night. The award given was of the European Citizen Prize, by the “European Parliament”, the year of the disaster. He was one of 37 awarded in 2012, but he was nominated “Man of the Year”. The wife and son of Petrov were given a standing ovation as well. “Every day, I wake up with the feeling that I have done what I had to do, what I was obligated to do. I, personally, don’t think that I deserve that award; this is the choice of the people. Every man would be happy to receive that award.”, he released in a call interview with Darik Radio—the biggest private Bulgarian Radio Station.

Where he continued to work, while under Costa Crociere, is on the “Costa Voyager”, following the disaster of the sea. The ship is renamed “Chinese Taishan” as it has taken new ownership—only operating from the year before the disaster, by Costa Cruises, until 2 years after the incident. His whereabouts, now, or if he had retired is out in the wind.

Though Giuseppe Girolamo—one of the crew members categorized as a musician—lost his life, he was seen highly heroic. He was in a life-boat, then chose to vacant his seat for a child, remaining himself on-board. “Missing” posters were placed around Isola del Giglio, by family and friends of him, in hopes that he swam to shore. Girolamo’s body wasn’t discovered until March 22nd, months later. During the disaster, he was 30-years-old, a drummer playing in a band that Friday night.

The youngest killed from the incident of the 13th was aged at 5, Dayana Arlotti of Italy. Her corpse was found a month after tragedy, along with the body of her father, William—who was 37. Susy, Dayana’s mother, was not aboard as the two were actually spending their trip with William’s girlfriend.

Strangely, there was a couple from France described as safe and off-board, though the reality is of them not being seen since they were throwing on their life-jackets, aboard, at 11:14 P.M. Michael Blemand and Mylene Litzler are their names, both aged in the lower-half of the 20s during the horror that took place. A text message informing the couple evacuated, and are survivors, was received by the father of Mylene Litzler, who has, yet, seen his daughter. To celebrate Michael Blemand’s birthday, they were taking the trip, sadly. There is a claim—from the media—of everyone aboard, that night, being found, though there is no information about the discovery of them.

Said to be the first found on the list of the missing is the other “Musician” entertainer from the Costa Concordia crew, Sandor Feher. He was 38, a violinist in a trio called “Bianco Trio”. Heroically, by reports, he assisted crying children into life-vests and life-boats. His disappearance fell into play when he left to return to his cabin for his prized violin.

Of Oberasbach, Bavaria, Germany, a 52-year-old man fitted to the missing list after gravity forced him, down, to the lower end of the ship while he was in the process of attempting to get 3 others into a life-boat, who were wheelchair-bound. There are no reports of him being found—last seen by a friend before sliding to the opposite side of the vessel. His name is Gabriel Grube.

Additional to the missing list is a man from France, named Francis Servel. He was 71 at the time, giving his wife the life-jacket he had, telling her to jump. Following her jump, he jumped, vanishing when splashing into the sea.

Maria Grazia Trecarichi, a passenger, was on the phone with her friend—and business partner to their company called “Trecarichi”—to inform that she was aboard the ship with a friend, and that she was slipping into the sea. A sound of a thud was heard, then communication was immediately lost, Pippo Lombardo said—her friend and partner of their computer store in Priolo Gargallo. The time was 12 minutes after midnight. Maria Trecarichi was 50 years old, from Italy, celebrating her birthday with her 17-year-old daughter, at the time, Stefania Vincenzi—later competing for Miss Italy in the Sicilian Region. Her daughter survived, getting on a life-boat, while her mother decided to head below decks to gather a life-vest due to her freezing. Her body was not found until the next year.

With Maria Trecarichi before slipping, down, to the flooded side of the ship was Luisa Antonia Virzi, who was 49, and Italian. She died on-board as well. Along with Maria, Luisa, and Stefania was the boyfriend of Maria Trecarichi, Andrea Ragusa—who survived. Where Andrea Ragusa was is questionable.

There was a 70-year-old woman on-board to replace the wife of her brother, for which she passed away prier to their trip. Jeanette Gannard and her brother, Pierre Gregoire, were from France. Possibly, they are brother and sister by law, but they, too, were killed because of Captain Schettino. 69 was Sir Gregoire’s age.

A huge theory of the shipwreck occurring is of Captain Schettino getting distracted, from his surroundings, due to a woman he was having a romantic relationship with while aboard—together during the time of the disastrous wreckage; this would be the belief from many. Brought on-board by him, no payment was issued to her. Indeed, Francesco Schettino had a wife at the time, but she was obviously not on-board.

The captain sets a claim of Costa Crociere managers ordering him to perform a sail-past ‘salute’. A similar route was taken on August 14th of 2011, though it was not traveled by “The Scole Rocks”. The previous route was approved by Costa Cruises, but in daylight as an island festival was active.

Midway to midnight, Francesco Schettino abandons the ship with hundreds of passengers left on the sinking vessel. His story is oddly of him slipping off the cruise, happening to land atop of a life-boat while the Costa Concordia was capsizing. A crew-member in training, named Stefani Iannelli, detailed it quite different, who says the captain jumped to the roof of a life-boat before he jumped, right, after. There is an audio recording, from cellular communication, of Captain Schettino getting ordered to return to the boat by a rank above—of which he failed to obey.

For manslaughter of many aboard, Francesco Schettino was only given 10 years. 5 years were added, being at fault for the shipwreck. He was given an additional year for abandoning passengers. Enough years, does it seem to be?

Also, to be jailed were 5 colleagues of the captain, but made plea bargains early in the investigation, receiving non-custodial sentences. By Costa Crociere accepting partial responsibility, paying 850,000 euros, they escaped criminal charges, potentially. Francesco Schettino attended for trial at a court in Grosseto, Italy, getting convicted the year of 2015. He is spending his full 16-year sentence in Rebibbia, a prison in Rome.

Rumor has it of “My Heart will Go On”, sung by Celine Dion, being played in a restaurant, aboard, the moment Costa Concordia made impact with the deadly rock. Chilling, enough? In case you are unsure on where the song is from, it was the theme song for the 1997 movie “Titanic”.

By parbuckle salvage, the Concordia was entirely up-lifted in the early hours of September 17th, 2013, beginning a day before in a 19-hour raising operation. Remains were found on the “Greece Deck” weeks after. They were believed to be of Russel Rebello—but wasn’t—and Maria Grazia Trecarichi during the time. In the process of the up-lifting operation, death came upon a diver, who sliced his leg on a sheet of metal, underwater.

I write this as a remembrance of the lives lost behind the accident caused by Francesco Schettino, and to provide deeper details towards the situation. Today marks 10 years since the tragedy, but it is not forgotten, nor are those who died. May their remembrance live, forever, on.

 

Crew Lives Lost

  • Sandor Feher, from Hungary
  • Giuseppe Girolamo, from Italy
  • Erika Fani Soria Molina, from Peru
  • Russel Terence Rebello, from India
  • Tomas Alberto Costilla Mendoza, from Peru

 

Passenger Lives Lost

  • Barbara Heil, from the U.S. –  Died with husband, Jerry Heil
  • Brunhilde Werp, from Germany
  • Christina Mathi Ganz, from Germany
  • Dayana Arlotti, from Italy
  • Egon Hoer, from Germany
  • Elisabeth Bauer, from Germany
  • Francis Servel, from France
  • Gabriel Grube, from Oberasbach, Bavaria, Germany
  • Gerald “Jerry” Heil, from the U.S. – Died with wife, Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minnesota
  • Giovanni Masia, from Italy
  • Guillermo Gual, from Spain
  • Horst Galle, from Germany
  • Inge Schall, from Germany
  • Jeanette Gannard, from France
  • Jean-Pierre Micheaud, from La Rochelle, France
  • Josef Werp, from Germany
  • Luisa Antonia Virzi, from Italy
  • Margarethe Neth, from Germany
  • Margrit Schoeter, from Germany
  • Maria D’introno, from Italy – On-board with husband and his parents for their golden wedding
  • Maria Grazia Trecarichi, from Italy
  • Michael Bremand, from France
  • Mylene Letzler, from France
  • Norbert Joseph Ganz, from Germany
  • Pierre Gregoire, from France
  • Siglinde Stumpf, from Germany
  • William Arlotti, from Italy

 

 

Written by Troy “The Ghost-Bull” Powell

 


Submitted: January 13, 2022

© Copyright 2022 The Ghost-Bull. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Non-Fiction Articles

Boosted Content from Premium Members

Short Story / Fantasy

Short Story / Science Fiction

Short Story / Science Fiction

Short Story / Science Fiction

Other Content by The Ghost-Bull