|A lifeboat drill onboard Costa Atlantica. // Photo by Susan J. Young|
Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO, and Gianni Onorato, president, Costa Crociere, addressed press questions from English-speaking media this morning.
On a phone call, the duo expressed their deep sorrow for the accident, for the victims, their families and all the guests and crew onboard.
Addressing several safety questions, Foschi said Costa would review procedures for lifeboat drill timing, although he noted that only the guests who boarded in Civitavecchia did not have a lifeboat drill prior to the accident.
He also stressed that all cabins and suites had an in-room stateroom television safety briefing that displayed automatically upon arrival. He says it described procedures for what to do in an emergency.
As for the situation that developed on Costa Concordia with lifeboats being inoperable on one side of the vessel, Foschi said Costa would also review its procedures to see if this could be addressed in the safety training the crew receives -- but he noted this would be very difficult to simulate.
He praised the ship's crew, noting that 4,200 people were evacuated in two hours. "The crew -- from what we see and understand -- behaved rightly, behaved according to procedures, Foschi said.
Foschi said access to the ship is now solely in the hands of investigators. "We have no access for all the information that would have enabled us [as a company] to understand correctly what has happened," he said.
He also reiterated that the captain took it into his own hands to change the ship's course. "We believe it has been human error," said Foschi. "He did not follow the authorized route."
Foschi said more than 100 times the line had safely used the line's specified route from the south to the north in the Tyrranean Sea. "It is a tragic event," he stressed.
When asked about the Costa Concordia captain's background, Foschi said the officer came onboard with Costa in 2002 and was subsequently promoted to the captain in 2006.
He had worked for another cruise line prior to joining Costa, but Foschi did not specify which firm. Foschi said the captain never had any prior incidents at Costa that would cause concern.
In terms of the ship's position so close to shore and media reports showing it may have shifted somewhat since it listed on Friday night, Foschi said there was no environmenta impact as yet but "we are still, very, very concerned" about that [potentially]. "We're still in an emergency basis."
He also said the line is still working to get guests and crew home. Foschi thanked the local communities on Giglio for the help of authorities and residents, because it could have been "much more tragic than it already was without the help" of these people, Foschi said.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further information on this developing story.