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Italy celebrates 10 years of deadly sinking of Costa Concordia

Italy celebrates 10th anniversary of Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster with a day-long commemoration that will end with a candlelight vigil marking the moment the ship crashed into a reef and then capsized off Tuscany

GIGLIO, Italy – Italy marks the 10th anniversary of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster on Thursday with a day-long commemoration that will end with a candlelight vigil marking the moment the ship crashed into a reef and then capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

A midday mass in the church of Giglio honors the 32 people who died in the sinking of January 13, 2012, while the survivors and relatives of the dead will lay a wreath in the water where the towering liner finally came to rest on the next to Giglio’s coast.

The anniversary is also a reminder of how the people of Giglio hosted the 4,200 passengers and crew that night, then lived with the destroyed hulk of the Concordia for another two years until it was straightened out and transported. to scrap.

Those residents warmly greeted Kevin Rebello on Wednesday, whose brother Russel Rebello, a Concordia waiter, could not be found until crews discovered his remains during the ship’s dismantling in 2014 at a Genoa shipyard.

Kevin Rebello had grown close to many of Giglio’s inhabitants during the months when divers searched for his brother, and his return to the island on the last ferry of the day on the eve of the anniversary turned into a touching reunion.

“My brother did his duty. He lost his life protecting other people, ”said Kevin Rebello upon arriving on Giglio. ” I’m proud of it. And I think he would be proud of what he did, helping so many people.

The anniversary comes as the cruise ship industry, closed in much of the world for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, is once again in the spotlight due to security-threatening COVID-19 outbreaks passengers. Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned people from all walks of life not to cruise, regardless of their vaccination status, due to the risk of infection.

For Concordia survivors, COVID-19 infections on cruise ships are just the latest proof that passenger safety is still not a top priority for the industry. Passengers aboard the Concordia were largely on their own to find life jackets and a working lifeboat after the captain steered the ship too close to shore in a waterfall. He then delayed an evacuation order until it was too late, as the lifeboats were unable to descend into the water because the vessel was heeling too heavily.

Passenger Ester Percossi recalled being knocked to the ground in the dining room by the initial impact of the reef gashing into the hull, which she said looked like “an earthquake”. and on the floor.

“We got up and with a lot of effort we got out on the bridge and there we got the life jackets, the ones we could find, because everyone was grabbing them from each other, to save themselves”, she remembers. “There was no law. Just survival and that’s it.”

Prosecutors blamed the delayed evacuation order and conflicting instructions given by the crew for the chaos that ensued as passengers scrambled to get off the listing ship. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before all passengers and crew are evacuated.

Costa did not respond to emails seeking comment on the anniversary.

Cruise Lines International Association, the largest trade association for the cruise industry in the world, stressed in a statement to The Associated Press that the safety of passengers and crew is the industry’s top priority and that the cruising remains one of the safest vacation experiences available.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the victims of the Concordia tragedy and their families on this sad anniversary,” said CLIA. He said he has worked for the past 10 years with the International Maritime Organization and the maritime industry to “instill a culture of safety based on continuous improvement”.


Winfield reported from Rome.

ABC News

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