Exclusive: Costa Concordia in previous close call - FREE CONTENT

  • Wednesday 18 January 2012, 00:30

Exclusive: Costa Concordia in previous close call - FREE CONTENT

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But cruise line insists Friday’s deviation from route was unauthorised

EXCLUSIVE analysis of Lloyd’s List Intelligence tracking data shows that Costa Concordia sailed within 230 m of the coast of Giglio Island on a previous voyage, slightly closer to the shore than where it subsequently hit rocks on Friday.

The cruiseship, which capsized off the Italian coast, had previously changed course to get closer to Giglio on the night of August 14 last year — for La Notte di San Lorenzo, the night of the shooting stars, owners Costa Cruises have said.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the company’s chief executive officer, Pier Luigi Foschi, stressed that the decision was taken under the authorisation of the local martime authority and the permission of Costa, after the route was reviewed. He also claimed that the vessel was never closer than 500 metres from the coast at any pont in the voyage.

The route taken on January 13, however, was described by Costa Cruises as a deviation from the pre-planned route to make a manoeuvre that was “unauthorised, unapproved and unknown to Costa”.

Both routes passed within a few hundred metres of each other and the tracking data, obtained through Lloyd’s List Intelligence proprietary land based AIS receivers, proves that the vessel would have been less than 200 m away from the point of collision when it took the previously authorised route. The route also took the vessel far closer than the 500 metres claimed by Costa Crociere.

Click here to view an enlarged version of the map

Meanwhile, the UK Hydrographic Office has issued a statement, declining to comment on whether Costa Concordia was using one of its charts.

However, UKHO has confirmed that Italian charts of the area around Giglio are available on a larger scale than the 1:300,000 charts it issues.

Although this might seem to be a technical matter, the master of the vessel, who is under investigation for suspected manslaughter, has blamed the casualty on the cruiseship hitting an uncharted rock. This could make charts critical to the case for the defence, should the master face a criminal prosecution.

No rock is shown on the UKHO chart at the position in which Costa Concordia sank.

The UKHO said: “This is a regrettable incident where life was lost and a full investigation will be undertaken by the Italian maritime authorities. A report will be published following that investigation.

“The UKHO expects that the report will contain information about the chart or charts used by the vessel at the time of the incident, and also expects the report to describe what features were present on the charts being used.

“The UKHO does not wish to prejudice the investigation, and so will not enter into speculation about which chart may have been in use by the vessel at the time of the incident.

“The UKHO’s most detailed paper chart of the area in which the vessel grounded is Chart 1999 at a scale of 1:300 000, which is up to date for all relevant information known to the UKHO. It should be noted that this small scale chart is considered to be unsuitable for close inshore navigation.

“Larger scale paper charts, produced by the Italian hydrographic service, are available. The official digital charts are Italian with larger scales available.”

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