Saturday, January 21, 2012

#CostaConcordia :Most Of The Crew Were Entertainers Or Bartenders

The doomed Italian liner which capsized off the coast of Italy was less a ship than a seaborne version of a Las Vegas hotel and most of the 1,023-strong crew were there to run the bars, swimming pools, theatres and casino.

A mixed group of around 40 nationalities with Filipino and Peruvian waiters, English dancers and Spanish musicians, at least two thirds of the crew were aboard to entertain and take care of the passengers, heavily outnumbering qualified seamen.

On a normal quiet cruise around the Mediterranean, that may not be a problem, but it seems to have added to the chaos when the huge Costa Concordia ran aground off the island of Giglio.

“It seems from all the indications that the vast majority of the crew were the equivalent of hotel staff and not sufficiently trained in seamanship skills,” said John Dalby, chief executive with specialists Marine Risk Management (MRM).

When a loud bang was heard as passengers sat down to dinner on Friday night and the multi-storey super-liner began to list heavily, panic erupted and a babble of different languages among the multinational passengers and crew made the rescue more difficult.

“There was total confusion and then mounting panic as the ship tipped further on to its side,” said Mario Pellegrini, the deputy mayor of Giglio, who went out on a small boat to offer advice on the best way to get people on to the island.

“I found no officers on board, not only the captain but also no officers, and the rest of the personnel were all Asian and spoke no Italian and also very little English,” he said.

“They were very willing to help but also very agitated. It was very disorganised and left me with an awful impression.”