Survivors tell of chaotic escapes after cruise ship runs aground off Italy

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bruno, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Pretty hairy stuff here- the Italian cruise ship "Costa Concordia" hit a reef and rolled onto it's side on its way out of port.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world...uated-6-dead/2012/01/13/gIQA9kfSxP_story.html

    [​IMG]
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Having just disembarked today from the Celebrity Eclipse, I must say that it was a bit odd to see this story. Of course the captain of our ship has been sailing professionally for 28 years, and reminded me of a brigade commander with his personality. We certainly felt safe at every step.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    About a decade ago, I was on a cruise ship that collided at sea with another ship. They got us on deck in our life jackets and lowered the lifeboats. Luckily, we didn't have to abandon ship. The ship was laid up for months (it had no bow left). It was a sobering experience. However, the crew was very professional and we felt that, had we needed to abandon ship, they would be there to help us.

    From the reports I've read regarding this most recent accident, the captain didn't call for help in a timely manner; didn't get passengers to the lifeboats quickly enough, and didn't sound the universal alarm (7 short blasts followed by one long blast) which would have alerted those who'd cruised before that there was a BIG problem. Give the speed with which the ship capsized, he MAY not have closed the watertight doors, or closed them quickly enough.
     
  4. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I've been on her older sister, Solstice. I had a fab time. Beautiful ship and what seemed to be a highly competent crew.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    The Eclipse was amazing. Not even two years old yet. Heck, the Solstice is maybe 3.5 years old or so. We may sail to europe this fall on the Reflection, the 4th Solstice-class ship, for its maiden voyage.
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    It seems fortunate that they were close to shore and the ship did not completely sink or capsize.




    ...and a good reason to always have some sort of light source on your person!
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I have never heard of "seven short and one long"....

    I've heard of "five short"..... or a number of continuous short blasts.

    Also, as far as sound signals are concerned "long" does not exist..... "prolonged" does.

    Now I'm going to have to find my rules of the road and find this crafty "seven short, one prolonged".
     
  8. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That's the exact process they briefed and demonstrated to us on this cruise. Seven short blasts and one long blast was the general alarm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2012
  9. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Seven short blasts followed by a long one (or "prolonged," if that is what it's called) is what is done at muster drills on cruise ships. That's the general emergency alarm.

    Maybe it's just a cruise industry thing, but I've done six or so trips, and it was always seven short and one long. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if the Navy did something different.

    scout...Europe is nice by cruise; it really is a nice way to travel there.
    It's a totally different vacation experience than cruising the Caribbean. I did a trip to the Eastern Med. on Royal Caribbean that went to Sicily, Greece, mainland Italy, and Turkey. It was a lot of fun, but very early mornings for vacation. We were exhausted after the fact.

    The wife and I are going to Europe this summer, but we decided we prefer to do that kind of a trip by land. Cruising is still our favorite way to get a relaxing beach vacay in the Caribbean. Celebrity is most definitely our favorite line, with Holland America up there as well (excellent food).
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Must be a cruise ship thing, because it certainly isn't in the rules of the road for sound signals.

    Of course.... I wasn't 100% paying attention on my last cruise, but man did we own bingo!!!


    "Short blast" is defined as about 1 sec. in duration.
    "Prolonged blast" is 4-6 sec. in duration.

    It's been awhile since I've been at sea, and I'm going to progressively forget about a number of rules. I have the Nav. Rules app for my cell phone.

    Just looked at the rules of the road.... found nothing about that pattern. Does anyone have a reference? I googled it, found a wikipedia reference that linked to NOAA. It's on NOAA's shipboard procedures, just can't find a reference beyond that. Perhaps its an accepted practice that's not law?

    All this talk about cruise ships makes me want to go on a cruise. My last (and only) cruise was supposed to go to Grand Cayman and Jamaica. Week comes, and hurricane reroutes the ship to the Bahamas and Haiti (nice resort part of Haiti, not real Haiti). Fun cruise, despite going to places I had to go on my cutter.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2012
  11. 2009KPer

    2009KPer Member

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    Well, you won't find it in the rules because it's not related to navigation. It goes beyond cruise ships, though. Every commercial vessel I've been on, both cargo and passenger (including ferries) uses it. I believe it is part of the IMO LSA component of SOLAS. Technically, I've always seen it worded as "more than six short blasts, followed by a continuous blast for more than 10 seconds". Why they didn't say seven or more short blasts, I don't know.

    All signals made on the general alarm are supposed to be followed up by the same signal on the ship's whistle (horn). Some systems sound the whistle and general alarm at the same time. Others, you gotta do them separately - it all depends on the vessel.

    It should also be noted that the General Alarm is not an automated alarm - somebody has to hit the contact manually. The idea is that it should take a conscious decision on whether to sound it and what that signal should be after an emergency situation has been brought to the attention of the crew (ex, do you go to fire stations, or make immediate plans to abandon ship?). You don't necessarily want that decision to be made automatically.
     
  12. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    Actually, the signal to 'abandon ship' is more than six short blasts, followed by one long blast on the ship's whistle supplemented by the simultaneous ringing of the general alarm bell.
    The 'five short' blasts on the ships whistle, LITS refers to, is the COLREGS (Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea) danger signal. It has nothing to do with the fire/abandon ship signals. By the way the 'prolonged blast' is also a term only defined in the COLREGS. All Station Bills I've ever seen use the term 'long blast' or in the case of the signal for fire emergency a 'continuous blast'..
     
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    It has been awhile, hasn't it? Heck, with 6 cruises under his belt, Sprog has about as much time on the high seas!
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yeah, we even found ourselves being pretty worn out after some days on this cruise. They started the "island life" early, with several port calls that began at 0730. Not something I mind, per se, but the night life on the ship kept us up for some late nights. Fortunately it only took so much energy to make it to the nude beach to lay around. :biggrin:

    She lived in Italy for awhile, so I think we'll skip that part. We may do a Greek Isles cruise or do the maiden voyage of the Reflection, which goes from Amsterdam to Barcelona.
     
  15. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Unfortunately, I am not a cruiser...but my parents are busy spending my inheritance :)wink:) cruising all over the world. They prefer river cruises. They see much more of what life is like in the countries they visit. Some include home visits for meals. The ships are much smaller and therefore more intimate. It might be more of a senior citizen thing...they don't mention late ight parties! They have been all over the place this way. For his 70th bday, I got my dad 1000 Places to See Before You Die. He opened it and began: "seen it, seen it, seen it..." I am so thankful they are in good health and can enjoy their trips. I asked him what his next "BIG" trip was. Loved the reply: To West Point, for graduation!
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Not to put toooooo much pressure on your budding aviator, but I got my parents an Alaska cruise for their 25th anniversary with a piece of my Cow loan.....just a thought for your grateful son. :wink:
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Probably so, and as much as I fly, I have the same flight hours as you. WHERE ARE MY WINGS!!! Flight attendant!!??! :wink:
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    That's likely it then. I'm guessing we had our own system. I was always destroying things during abandon ship drills. Man I'm getting old.... I can't remember anything. Just water temp, closest point of land, inhabitants friendly or hostile... that's it. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  19. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Was that Orient Beach on St. Martin (the French side)?

    I went there on one of the trips, and some of the nude bathers...

    Well, it just makes you realize that some people just don't care what others think..:yllol:
     
  20. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    What they do in the USN and the USCG and what's done on cruise ships in emergencies is different. There's no question that 7 short and 1 long is the general alarm for cruise ships. That's beaten into your head at the safety drill and, when our ship hit another ship, that's exactly what we heard.

    Remember that most cruise passengers are like sheep. A sound of this "magnitude" gets everyone's attention in a hurry.

    It appears the alarm was sounded on the Costa ship -- however, probably later than it should have been. And, since there'd been no safety briefing. people were clueless.
     

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