Memorials and minutes of silence mark the first anniversary of cruise liner Costa Concordia wreck on the Giglio island, other cities of Italy and all over the world.
A huge passenger ship, which is known now as “Italian Titanic” ran aground and partially sank on January 13, 2012 in the Tyrrhenian Sea near the island Giglio (opposite the coast of Tuscany). There were 4,252 people on board, including 45 citizens of Ukraine, 111 Russians, three citizens of Belarus and three of Kazakhstan. 32 people were killed and 64 injured in the accident, 2 missing and presumed dead.
The first event of a day-long commemoration began at 10 am local time with 32 long ferry toots while the crane was immersing in the sea a large fragment of rock, detached by liner during the fatal collision, Sky TG24 channel reports.
Later the Mass in the honour of victims was held in a port church.
At 15:30 the memorial plaque was opened on the pier. At 21:45 – exactly when the tragedy occurred – the minute of silence began. At 22:00 survivors and relatives of those who perished lighted 32 floating water lanterns.
Besides the mourning events in Giglio, memorial services for the victims of Costa Concordia wreck were held in Genoa, Paris, Mumbai, Goa, Bali, Jakarta, Shanghai, Manila and Lima.
The flags were lowered to half-mast at all office buildings and ships belonged to the Costa Crociere Company which owned Costa Concordia.
Memorial service and a minute of silence were also held on board of all Costa Crociere liners which were cruised.
Costa Concordia now. Picture by AFP
A year after the tragedy
A year after the tragedy Costa Concordia, which was set afloat in summer 2006, is still lying partially sank near Giglio. The liner which lies on its right side fenced with booms became a local landmark, but interest to it slowly fades.
The captain of wrecked liner Francesco Schettino is under investigation and simultaneously suing a company of ship owner Costa Crociere, which dismissed him from his job for negligence. The ordinary members of Costa Concordia crew still work in the company and ship out on other cruise liners.
Costa Concordia was a cruise liner 290 meters long with 17 decks. On January 13, 2012 the ship with 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew members on board left the Civitavecchia port near Rome, having begun the 7-day cruise around the Mediterranean and headed to Savona.
The decks included 1.5 thousand cabins, two-level fitness area, a concert hall, 4D-cinema, art gallery and library, casino, boutiques, restaurants and bars.
Location of Costa Concordia cruise-ship disaster
A few hours after departure, when passengers were having dinner in the restaurants, they heard a crash, and then the vessel began to tilt. The ship came too close to the island of Giglio near Tuscany coast, struck its port side on a reef and got a hole of about 70 meters length. Slowly the liner began to sink into the water with its right side. But the members of the crew led by Captain Francesco Schettino didn’t inform the passengers immediately about the situation, and have not submitted a signal of distress.
On board there was a panic, which resembled a scene from the “Titanic” movie. Evacuation lasted for several hours.
According to Vittorio Alessandro, the Italian coast guard spokesman, Costa Concordia left its course and went dangerously close to the shore. Experts wondered how could a liner that followed this route 52 times a year (once a week) deviate 3-4 miles from its course, come up so close to the shore and after getting a hole – turn over so fast. Among the suggestions – the human factor, technical failure or a combination of these reasons.
Former captain Francesco Schettino. Picture by AFP
During the investigation the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino admitted that he decided to take the ship closer to the shore of Giglio to salute his friend, former captain of Costa Concordia who lives on the island, as he did many times in the past. On the fateful evening of January,13 Schettino ordered the turn too late, and the ship were grounded on shallow.
Later it was unveiled that an hour before the accident Schettino drank alcohol.
Francesco Schettino is accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and leaving the ship before all passengers were evacuated. The criminal proceeding have gone through preliminary hearings. Less than six months after the disaster former captain was released from the home arrest and now lives in his hometown of Meta di Sorrento near Naples under court-ordered restrictions. He cannot leave the town without permission.
Hundreds of lawyers are preparing to represent in court the interests of thousands of victims.
Originally scheduled for refloating in January 2013, the ship still remains on its side. Now it’s expected Concordia to be rolled upright and towed away until the end of 2013.
And while it’s picturesquely towering above the sea, hundreds of tourists came here by other ships to take a photo of “Italian Titanic”. However, according to Il Sole 24 Ore, a year after the accident the flow of travelers to the Costa Concordia is 28% less.