Incredible but true!
It's a report from my uncles, they are on board Costa Atlantica for their one week cruise from Venice (July 22th-29th).
Costa Atlantica, after a change of its cruise route, at Tuesday arrived in Mikonos at 5pm up to 11pm instead of Katakolon where there was a general strike of archeological sites (Olimpia's site as others Greek sites).
In Mikonos there was also the new Costa Tropicale scheduled to arrive at 4pm.
At 11pm Costa Tropicale during its manoeuvres to exit from the little port ran aground near the harbour pier!!!
Two tugboats tried to refloat Tropicale but nothing to do, so after one hour Costa Atlantica (still in Mikonos to see what will be happened) hooked Costa Tropicale, bow against bow, with ropes to try to refloat it.
Costa Atlantica's master explained all operations by loudspeaker to all passangers.
Atlantica started to tow Tropicale with reverse gear but after some minutes ropes broke without any Costa Tropicale movements.
My uncle said me the ropes' break sound was like a bomb!
At the moment ropes broke Atlantica's sternway caused a little break of Atlantica's stern against the pier (demages for the pier, nothing for Atlantica).
Costa Atlantica turned around and hooked again Costa Tropicale, Atlantica's stern against Tropicale's bow, but this time not with ropes but with large chains.
Now it was able to refloat Costa Tropicale!
Atlantica left Mikonos at 2am!!!! Tropicale had serious problems with its propellers and didn't leave Mikonos, in fact the day after my uncles with Atlantica arrived in Kusadasi, as scheduled, but Tropicale, scheduled to arrive in Kusadasi at 8am and to spend all the day docked up to 6pm, never arrived.
It's possible it spent another day in Mikonos to solve propellers' problems.
The incredible thing is that two weeks ago, in Venice, during the Costa Tropicale inaugural one night cruise for TA it ran aground at the harbour exit, near Lido island, I know it because one
of my best friend works for Venice Port Authority, there was no problems because Tropicale ran aground in a sandbank and two tugboats were able to refloat it in little time but I can't believe it could be happens twice in only two weeks!!!!
I wil have more informations next Sunday when my uncles will finish their cruise.
Speak as a former naval officer, this is one of the worst tales of maritime incompetence that I have heard in ages. Aside from the embarassment of MV Costa Tropicale running aground, pulling her off in the forward direction was utterly the wrong thing to do. This procedure not only was certain to damage her propellers, but nearly certain to have bent her shafts and the struts that support the shaft as well. It probably also ruined several of her shaft bearings, but that's really secondary compared to the other damage. Of course, replacement of shafts and screws will require drydocking for repair.
Once propulsion shafts are bent, there's no way to straighten them so they will have to fabricate new shafts and propellers -- a process which will take a couple months even if they can find a facility that can do it right away. Further, bent struts will need to be replaced and aligned, and new bearings installed, before installation of new shafts is even a possibility -- and it's likely that bent frames of the hull will complicate this process considerably.
I'm even less impressed by the fact that nobody was monitoring the stress on the tow lines when MV Costa Atlantica tried to pull MV Costa Tropicale free. Nylon lines are most prevalent for such use now because of their strength and durability, but they are not without dangers of their own. Before they part, they stretch elastically, just like a rubber band. When they part, they "snap" like a whip -- often "clearing the deck" of a ship and taking anything in their path overboard with them. They are not exactly flyweights, either -- when they "snap," they can kill any people who happen to be in their paths. The usual procedure is to attach a piece of small line with the proper slack to two points of the main nylon line, then to limit the tension on the nylon line to that which retains some slack in the small line. Costa is very lucky if there were no injuries, fatilities, or damage to either vessel as a result of the lines parting.
If a ship runs aground, the first step is to ensure that she is not leaking or at least that any flooding is adequately contained. The second step is to await a favorable (high) tide, which might be sufficient to float her free. The third step is to tow her backward off the reef, rock, or sandbar so that one does not damage her propellers and shafts.
I'm rather stunned that supposedly seasoned mariners would try something like this. The authorities ought to pull the licenses of the masters of both vessels, and probably also of several other officers of both ships.
My guess is that MV Costa Tropicale will be out of service for a while.
Re: Re: Incredible Costa Atlantica rescue operations!
Different subject but we are lst timers on Costa Europa Greek Island tour for ll days end of Sept. would love information on your uncles trip. We go to Katakolon, Heraklion, Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, Nauplia, Corfu, Messina, Naples , La Valleta. Need info on shore tours- best do on own or tour? How about dressing for dinners? Tipping- how much and how to handle it. Any info would be welcome. We leave out of Genoa, Italy and need info to get to port from airport if they have any knowledge. Appreciate anything you can tell me.. Thanks