How quickly the news changes overnight. The ship that last appeared to be salvagable his now mostly underwater and a lost cause. Furthermore, it is reported that some 50 - 70 are reported to be missing. We are not sure why they would not have an exact count of who is missing already, but I am sure we will have a clearer picture soon. The Costa Concordia, a large cruise ship based in Italy but belonging to Costa Cruises, a cruise line in the Carnival Corp. Family, apparently struck ground near a tiny island named Giglio off the coast of Italy. The ship had just loaded a new contingent of passengers in Savona, near the city of Genoa on the West coast of Italy.
Passengers reported that the ship jolted suddenly while they were eating dinner. The captain came on the public address system to tell the passengers and crew that the ship had experienced an electrical fault, however witnesses quoted in European newspapers said it was obvious that the ship had hit something. They said they felt a sudden jolt quickly followed by a large banging sound.
Right now there are reports that three to six people have died although their names and whether or not they were passengers or crew has not been specified. There are reports of sightings of people dying after jumping into the water in a panic however that has not been confirmed, but it is being reported by CNN that 50 - 70 peopler are missing.
The lack of specificity is somewhat staggering to us here at CruiseMates considering it is late in the day in Europe already, the ship is close to shore, and there has been plenty of time to do an accounting of every passenger.
Costa Concordia is identical in superstructure to the Carnival Splendor, the ship that lost power off the coast of Mexico two years ago. However that is just a coincidence and the two incidents are not related.
All of the Costa Concordia passengers were evacuated after the captain sounded the abandoned ship signal of six short and one long blasts of the ship's horn. To evacuate the ship the passengers went through the muster drill just as it had been rehearsed a few hours previously just after embarkation, assuming this cruise took the regular protocol for boarding passengers.
Although the ship was listing at 20º soon after it struck ground company representatives said the vessel is in no danger of sinking. However, in the morning the ship was fully on its side in the water and it appears it will be fully submerged (if it is not already) soon. It has been reported that the ship struck a shallow underwater shoal off the Punta Gabbianara cape close to the island. Although ships have radar and charts to warn them of such obstacles, charts can be outdated or inaccurate and large ships cannot perform last minute evasive maneuvers. Without a doubt, a complete investigation into the incident will commence shortly.
The passengers were taken to the island of Giglio, which means "Lily" in English. The ship was on a cruise in the Mediterranean leaving from Savona, near Genoa, with planned ports of call in Civitavecchia, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma, Barcelona and Marseille, Costa cruise lines reported.