Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Costa Concordia

Ever gone through the experience of turning on the radio and hearing sadness in a familiar voice but not knowing what you've missed whilst you've been asleep?

That happened to me yesterday morning. I woke up at 7.45 and as I do every Saturday and Sunday morning I turned on the radio pretty much once I'd managed to open my eyes. And straightaway I knew something was wrong. The Costa Concordia cruise ship had ran aground near the Giglio island, off the coast of southern Tuscany. At the time information seemed to be scarse, even though the accident had actually happened at some point between 9.20-9.40pm the previous evening.

For whatever reason it took a while for news to filter down to the Italian press. I'm used to that happening with international news, Italy's such a bubble and sometimes it can take days for big international news stories to be mentioned here. When I turned on the tv not long after hearing the news it wasn't mentioned anywhere. Not even on the news channels. Absolutely nothing. Yet another case of having to follow what was happening in the country I live in online because the tv just wasn't mentioning it.

By the afternoon there was increased coverage, and there were some shocking pictures of the ship on its side in the ocean, almost parallel to it. The focus however seemed to be on placing blame and creating scandal, and not presenting the facts of what happened. As disappointing as it was, it wasn't surprising for the Italian press.

By 7pm Italian time today five bodies had been found, and 15 people remain missing. The search for the unaccounted passengers and crew continues. The reason behind the accident is reported to have been a power cut on the ship; the captain, who has been detained by police for questioning (he has also been accused of leaving the ship before all passengers had been rescued) claimed that the rocks that cut open the ship's hull were not marked on any maps. I watched passengers recall yesterday how they had to swim to the island in the freezing water, one man saying it took him 15 minutes to reach the shore. It's still hard for me to believe how something like this could happen in the 21st century.

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