Three weeks ago, the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit a reef off Italy and sent the cruise industry into a frenzy. The 3,000 passengers and crew of 1,000 were forced to abandon ship in life boats or jump into the frigid water and swim the couple hundred yards to shore. Some did not make it and there are still more than a dozen that are missing. Here is an update of the number of missing, dead, and the recovery efforts that is currently taking place on the ship.
The recovery efforts have been hampered with the winter conditions that are hitting the area. More than once, rescue teams have called off the search due to the rough waters around the luxury liner. The Concordia is currently sitting on a reef and there is fear that rough seas could move the ship causing it to sink further underwater. Concordia evacuation videos
There are 17 confirmed deaths including 3 crew members. There are still 15 missing (2 crew members) including Barbara and Gerald Heil from Minnesota. A week ago, the rescue team has said that if they find any more alive, it would be a miracle. Attention is now turned to recovering the bodies that are presumably still on the ship. Some are feared to have drown and their bodies will likely never be recovered.
Treasure hunters and divers are rumored to be anxiously waiting to recover the valuables that are on the Concordia. Passengers left behind jewelry, clothing, money, electronics such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, the shops are full of liquor. The ship also has many great pieces of art on it. The spa contained a collection of 300 year old woodblock prints by Katsushika Hokusai. The fear is that once all the bodies are out, it will be a mad dash for valuables. The cruise liner itself is worth $450 million in US dollars. Items from the ship from previous sailings are a hot item on eBay right now.
Carnival Cruise Line, the parent company that owns Costa, is currently receiving bids to get the cruise ship free from the reef so repairs can be made. Bidding is open until March and they expect it to be 6-9 months before the ship can be taken to a dry dock.
The captain, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest and is under investigation for manslaughter and abandoning ship before all the passengers and crew were safely evacuated. An email was found that was sent by Schettino that promised to get closer to the shore than previous captains were able to do. A “contest” had formed to see who could sound the horn of the ship while closest to land. This was done to impress the tourist who were on the island.
Cruise bookings have taken a fall since the accident at time where cruise bookings are normally at their highest. Wave season normally is a busy time for travel agents and the cruise lines. Also contributing to the decline in sales could be the warmer weather that the majority of the United States has enjoyed this winter. Cold weather is usually a boom for the travel industry in the Caribbean and Bahamas.
Cruise lines have been reluctant to lower prices after the fall in bookings. They are holding out to see if new bookings will pick up once people realize the overall safety of the cruise industry.
Cruise Fever will continue to bring you the latest updates on the Costa Concordia as more information becomes available.