Those Titanic Analogies


In nautical terms, the comparison between the two stricken liners is absurd, of course. The Titanic struck the famous iceberg on 15 April 1912, off Newfoundland and 450 miles off New York, at night, not 300 yards off the Italian shore in the Med. Six have died in the Costa Concordia accident. In 1912, 1,517 lost their lives.

It did so without most of the sophisticated navigating equipment that is now routine, even in yachts, let alone in 951ft gin palaces like the Costa cruise fleet.

GPS satellite technology allowed Costa Concordia’s hapless Italian master, Francesco Schettino, to know exactly where he was to within a few feet. Except that, as with the sat-navs in our cars, it does not protect any of us from computer error (my new sat-nav is always telling me to go the wrong way), technical failure (the rumoured electrical failure seems unlikely) and the magnificent capacity of over-confident human beings to screw up.

We will find out in due course. My money is on human error. One allegation is that Captain Schettino was allegedly seen in the bar with a glamorous companion before the ship struck the submerged rocks – rocks which weren’t on his maps and (says the captain) could be the product of underwater volcanic activity.

But the Costa seems to have been too close to the shore – its rocks and shallow water – possibly to show off to friends on the cliffs, according to one daft theory.


Costa Concordia: A floating RBS With A Sudden Liquidity Problem (Michael White, Guardian)

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