For a Packaged Deal onboard Concordia I

25 May 2012

Costa Concordia – Press release # 4

Tomorrow, Saturday May 26, in Marseille, will occur the maiden voyage of the MSC Divina, aka the new mass destruction weapon of the cruise industry. It means destruction of the pleasure of being at sea, of the environment, landscapes, and of human dignity. These tourist transports are like huge containers of tools for globalization and sociological mass phenomena. Sophia Loren will be the godmother of the MSC Divina. This is perhaps her best character, but not her best film.

As for Robin des Bois, the MSC Divina is a cynical hell for cruise passengers who pop champagne in Marseille and proclaim their optimism only 500km from the Costa Concordia‘s wreckage, where pollution and some of the bodies from the shipwreck have yet to return to the island of Giglio.

After Costa Concordia‘s shipwrecking, MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises adopted measures to alleviate the drop in reservations. Both companies conformed to retail strategies: special offers, free spots for children, two-for-one pricing, a 30% premium on life jackets, and more. But the safety of nearly 5,000 potential victims aboard monstrous ships such as the MSC Divina is no joke: there are 3,502 passengers and 1,370 crew members- most of whom do not possess nautical skills. Trade or hotel businesses employees coming from all over the world –except for Europeans, who’re too expensive – must not be mistaken for sailors.

Concerns and strong criticism accompany the uncontrolled growth of marine tourism where glamour masks the creepiness which resides in the extreme and unresolved difficulties that might occur the day when 5000-8000 people have to be evacuated because of a fire, a storm, a collision, or an attack. The evacuation slides fitted to the MSC Divina, allowing one passenger to leave every 7 seconds onto something reminiscent of Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa, do not alleviate concerns – far from it.

Prefects and maritime authorities, sea rescue workers, NGOs in the ports of call, ministers, and politicians raise their voices. The German Transport Minister just asked the question lingering on everyone’s mind, “Where will this megalomania lead to? There are cruises with 8,000 people on board and capacities of 10,000. The more people on board, the more danger there is. Everyone remembers the story of the Tour de Babel. We know how that ended.”

The Conference of the European Peripheral Maritime Regions – headquartered in Rennes- expressed, on the occasion of its last meeting on the very island of Giglio, on April 12 and 13, 2012, several recommendations regarding gigantic cruise ships. One of them is to prohibit or limit the incursions of giant ships in zones in which it is dangerous to navigate and in proximity to protected and fragile natural environments. The Conference said that the trend towards gigantism raises specific issues of towing, rescue, and evacuation procedures, and hopes that responses will be made in the near future at international, European, and national scales.

The European Union has initiated a revision of the May 2009 directive on safety rules and standards for passenger ships, and in October 2012 there will be a Ministerial Conference about the sea, under Cyprus’ chairmanship.

Both chances must be used to study and tie up a regulatory package for Concordia I, similar to and following the Erika regulatory packets.






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