Chaos as Costa Concordia cruise ship keeled over

The hearing in Italy into the catastrophic grounding of the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, has heard that chaos reigned on the ship’s bridge following the collision.

Evidence surrounding the Costa Concordia’s demise when it hit rocks off the island of Giglio, Italy, in January this year, is currently being revealed at the hearing. Voice recordings of events that took place on the ship’s bridge immediately following the collision have been played to the court, and they paint a picture of panic, chaos and conflicting orders among the craft’s decision makers that can have done little to improve the situation.

The ships 51-year-old captain, Francesco Schettino, is heard shouting instructions that conflict with those being shouted by his deputy, Ciro Ambrosio. Prior to the recorded interaction, it was alleged that the captain had said that he wanted to go and do a salute, thought to mean a salute to the island of Giglio. He then allegedly told the helmsman to change course or the ship would go on the rocks. The recording, with its exchanges carried out in a mixture of Italian and English, continues with the captain ordering the closing of the watertight compartments in the vessel’s hull, and repeating the order.

32 people died as a result of the grounding and the ship subsequently keeling over, and captain Schettino is accused of causing a shipwreck, manslaughter, and abandoning ship. He has yet to be charged with the accusations and has defended himself by saying that many more lives would have been lost had he not steered the ship into shallower waters.

Eight other people are also under investigation for their part in the tragedy, including three executives from Costa Crociere, the company that owns the ship.

The hearing is on-going.