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Cruise disaster could have been much worse
5:14pm Thursday 5th July 2012 in Readers' Letters
WITH all the other events going on within our troubled world, the subject of the Costa Concordia has almost faded from our memories, until the recent article published in the Echo.
This article stated that cruise bookings slowed following the capsize of the Concordia, although these bookings had now recovered and with the owners stating “measures have been implemented as to make sure this will not happen again, and our customers should have no concern regarding the safety of our fleet”.
I also hope and pray this proven instability of these superliners will never happen again, although when one considers the history of stability of many liners/car ferries etc, the public appear more interested in, for example, “what shall we wear on the cruise?”!
Let’s look at the facts. The underwater damage to the Concordia is very similar to Titanic, although Titanic went down by the head, thus allowing both port and starboard lifeboats to be launched. Concordia had severe underwater damage to the port side and with the inbuilt instability the water, although taken into port, capsized to starboard, leaving only the port side lifeboats to be launched.
Concordia was, in my opinion, fortunate to capsize almost on the beach. If this liner had capsized in deeper water, how many would have survived this? It could have been thousands lost.
Turning the marine clock back a number of years, the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in shallow water, leaving half the hull above the water, making rescue easier. If Herald had capsized in deeper water, how many would have survived then?
One other aspect, which is the most severe of all.
Following say a collision of two superliners, the vessel that would carry side-on damage could take in a huge amount of water and not only capsize very quickly, even turn turtle completely, leaving both crew and passengers with almost no hope of rescue.
HUGH CLEVERLY, retired engineering officer, Union Castle Line.
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