COSTA CONCORDIA Evacuation Marked by Chaos, Inexperienced Crew
Survivors of the COSTA CONCORDIA cruise ship disaster described a chaotic scene as passengers attempted to evacuate the damaged, sinking ship. Media sources soon reported that the passengers received no safety drills or evacuation instructions before they were forced to flee the ship.
Maritime law states cruise ships have 24 hours from setting sail to lead passengers through a safety drill and explain the evacuation procedure. According to Carolyn Latti, a Boston maritime attorney, cruise lines do not want to inconvenience passengers who have just boarded by making them immediately sit through a 20-minute drill, and the COSTA CONCORDIA was only a few hours into its journey when it ran aground.
The ship began to lean heavily to the side as it took on water, and Francesco Schettino, the ship’s captain, failed to lead an orderly evacuation. The captain, now facing serious charges in relation to the accident, told officials today that “passengers were pouring on to the decks, taking the lifeboats by assault.”
According to Latti, “the captain should be doing everything within his power to make sure that all passengers are removed safely, that the crew is doing its job and that he has done all that he can to prevent further injury, death and damage.” When Schettino left the ship, Latti believes the inexperienced crew could not manage the situation and “worst of all, prioritized their own lives over the lives of the passengers…”
The Carnival Cruise Lines, owners of the COSTA CONCORDIA, “must reassess their lifeboat drills and emergency response procedures with captains, crew and passengers to avoid another tragedy like the COSTA CONCORDIA,” Latti said. “The safety of the passengers, ship and crew are the ultimate duty and responsibility of the captain and the owner and operator of the vessel.”
Latti went on to state that “hopefully the COSTA CONCORDIA tragedy will inspire a change in policy and that cruise lines will do their safety drills before setting sail.” Making sure passengers and crew are prepared for an emergency is far too important to put off, and this tragedy has proven that disaster can strike at any time.
Latti, a Boston maritime trial lawyer and partner at Latti & Anderson, has defended the rights of people all over the world who suffered injury in cruise ship accidents. If you were involved in the COSTA CONCORDIA disaster, contact us today to ensure that you get the help you deserve.