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Did the Costa Concordia Captain Alter Course?
The captain had begun to manually steer the ship, and was reported to have been off course by 4 miles.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012

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The terrible tragedy in Italy aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship Friday night has sent waves of distress across the world. As of Monday evening, 5 are confirmed dead, and 29 are still missing from the 950 ft long capsized cruise ship that hit a rocky shoal Friday night with 4,000 passengers aboard.

According to reports by Soundings, "The owner of the Costa Concordia says the captain deviated from the plotted course without authorization, causing the cruise ship to strike a reef and capsize Friday off Italy’s west coast."

The Associated Press quoted the owner of Costa Crosiere SpA adn CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, “Capt. [Fransesco] Schettino took an initiative of his own will, which is contrary to our written rules of conduct.”

Foschi explained that Costa ships have set routes that, when deviated from, have alarms in place that go off. Manually changing the route overrides the alarms however, and company officials are speculating that this is contributed to the accident.

The captain had begun to manually steer the ship, and was reported to have been off course by 4 miles. The ship hit a rocky shoal off the island of Giglio that the captain said was not on his chart. According to his chart, the captain stated, there was plenty of water. The accident caused a 160 ft gash in the side of the hull, and the vessel began listing 80 degrees. The angle and speed of the vessel capsizing rendered useless all the lifeboats on one side of the ship, hindering a complete, efficient, and speedy rescue.

Operations to right the ship were suspended on Monday due to concerns that the 500,000 gallons of fuel in the hull would spill into an area that is a protected sanctuary.

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